State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Ian Hayles, says the government is seeking to increase the number of plots under the National School Garden Programme to 10 per parish.
He informed that with the 2012/13 allocation of $6 million, "we intend to seek an additional $4 million” to put this plan into motion.
Mr. Hayles made the disclosure on July 25, while making his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
He noted that with the increase in plots, the Ministry will be placing more focus on the work of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, which now has a membership of approximately 65,000 in over 900 clubs islandwide.
"We will continue to use this vehicle (Jamaica 4-H Clubs) to expand our school garden programme," he said.
The State Minister pointed out that the Government’s efforts in this regard are also being supported by a number of entities, including: Hi-Pro, Food for the Poor, Missionaries of the Poor, Toyota Jamaica Limited, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Lions Club of Kingston and Members of Parliament.
Additionally, he said through the 4-H Clubs, the Government will continue to mobilise support to provide agricultural scholarships to deserving students. Mr. Hayles said the Clubs will also be a significant partner in the small ruminant project.
"The 4-H Clubs remain the major provider of training of youth in the area of tractor operation and maintenance, and we intend to expand this programme,” he advised.
Mr. Hayles appealed to corporate Jamaica to partner with the 4-H Clubs in the commercialisation of a number of products developed by members. These include wines, jams, jellies, and pastries “of the highest quality."
Additionally, he called on food processing entities to recruit “some of these students as interns and apprentices, so that they can have a better appreciation of the commercial aspect of these food processing activities."