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    A programme specifically designed to attract young people to agriculture, is to be implemented by the Government, shortly.
    The Young Farmers Programme will involve young persons, aged 18-35 years, and will provide them with the necessary resources to become successful farmers.
    Making the disclosure at a young farmers forum at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), during a tour of farming communities in Portland on Wednesday (March 18), Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christophor Tufton, said the initiative will be implemented out of the recognition that young people must become the primary catalyst for the change needed in the agricultural sector, if it is to realize its potential.
    Dr. Tufton said the programme will be designed to accommodate young persons, who have a passion for agriculture and a willingness to embrace new technologies needed to drive production and productivity.
    The assistance government will provide for the young people participating in the programme will include: identifying suitable lands for farming; developing business plans; and making available limited access to financial recourses.
    Dr. Tufton said that the Government is fully committed to working with young farmers, who will apply themselves to the need for self sufficiency in food production.
    He declared that there is an urgent need to change the perception of agriculture in the Jamaican society and make it a modern day experience, capable of providing for the needs of the country. He said that it is important for young people to take up the challenge, if the country is to remain competitive in the global economy.
    He said that Jamaica has to craft a strategy that will make the population less dependent on foreign food, and the achievement of food security for the country is a major objective of the agricultural policy being pursued by government.
    He also asserted that government is determined to provide the agricultural sector with the support it needs to remain a vibrant part of the economy, and emphasised that a number of measures have already been taken to ensure that the objective is achieved, including increasing the number of extension officers attached to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the expansion of its marketing services.
    The Minister also congratulated CASE for the role it has played in training young people in agriculture.
    He expressed confidence that training will play a significant role in enabling the farming sector to remain on the cutting edge of production, and prevent it from becoming a second rate economic activity.

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