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Parish Manager for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Manchester Office, Donald Robinson has expressed his organisation’s willingness to assist with training 4-H Club clubbites in the parish.
Mr. Robinson gave the commitment recently, at the Annual General Meeting of the Manchester 4-H Clubs Parish Advisory Council, held at the RADA Conference Room in Mandeville.
“I am willing to be out in the schools to assist especially with training. I am hoping that our training programme will not only be for Achievements Days both within the parish and at Denbigh but we could have an all year round training programme that the students can practice what they have learnt through these training sessions. I am pledging that my staff will work closer with the schools in this parish,” he said.
Mr. Robinson said that he has asked the agricultural extension officers attached to his office to adopt at least two schools in their respective extension area.
The Parish Manager said his office will not only be assisting the 4-H Clubs with training students, but will also assist with a number of agricultural projects, such as the production and productivity programme, and the revolving goat scheme.
“If we can find two schools within each area we can get some assistance for these schools. We have our production and productivity programme and we do have a revolving goat scheme in the parish and if we can find a school that has the facility we can make one of these animals available to the school on a revolving basis,” he said.
He added that if a school is to benefit from the production and productivity programme, the institution must have adequate land space, and that once this criteria is satisfied, they will also receive assistance with seeds, seedlings and fertiliser.
Mr. Robinson emphasised that RADA wants to see production coming from the school gardens, as the Authority wants them to not only operate as tutorial plots, but also as commercial enterprises.
He said the RADA project to assist schools with their gardens is on a first come, first served basis.
“So if the school has a project that it would want to get some assistance for please send in an application early,” he implored.
He stressed that full participation is needed from all stakeholders if the project is to be successful. These stakeholders include the teachers and Principals, the Parents Teachers Association, and community members.
“If you are going to do a project within an area and the members of the community do not buy into it, it is going to be a failure. So we are going to select the schools that are enclosed where you do not have animals all over the place and where there is some form of security,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Lenworth Fulton appealed to 4-H Clubs leaders to pay attention to the school gardens.
He added that school gardens will be boosted this year and during 2010 through a $50 million Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)/European Union (EU) project.
“Four of those projects will be in the central region and there will be goat and rabbit projects and we will be able to supply more goats and rabbits to schools,” he informed.

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