MANDEVILLE — Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Senator Warren Newby, has lauded the value-added products developed by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, noting that they can be part of the economic transformation of the country.
He was addressing the Jamaica 4-H Clubs National Achievement Expo 2011 held on Friday April 15 at the Denbigh Showground in Clarendon.
"What I have seen being displayed is the best of Jamaica. You have shown the versatility of Jamaican produce and it augurs well for the development of Jamaica," he said.
Chairman of the 4-H movement, Dr. Vindel Kerr, in expressing similar sentiments, urged the clubbities to use their skills to start business ventures. "As we expose you to the various skills in the movement, we would be very pleased if you…would have engaged yourself in some form of business. We need entrepreneurs to take this country forward," he said.
For her part, Assistant Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr. Gillian Smith, lauded the 4-H movement for the focus on the holistic development of the youth, which, she said, is critical to Jamaica's future.
"When you focus on all aspect of the person, you provide a great model for the development of the kind of citizens that Jamaica wants – bright, hardworking, innovative, and people of integrity. The skills that you develop are going to be very important, not just for employers, but also for you as successful entrepreneurs," she stated.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donavan Stanberry, said that in ensuring food security, Jamaica must "once and for all build a sustainable basis for exploiting the wealth that we can generate in this country through agriculture".
"One of the major planks is through training and education so that people can realise from the early stages that the business of producing food is a noble business, and it is something from which wealth can be generated," he noted.
The national expo, held under the theme: "Value-added agriculture for youth transformation and entrepreneurship," showcased the best valued-added products from Parish Achievements Days held across the island recently.
There were also displays of food items made from pumpkin, which was the featured produce this year.
Several students from across the island copped trophies and other prizes for participating in competitions in sandwich making, cake baking and decorating, agro processing, rabbit care and management, poultry care and management, public speaking, budding and grafting, circumposing and potting.
COK Sodality Co-operative Credit Union was a major sponsor of the national expo.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS