Young persons are again being urged to get involved in agriculture, so they can significantly contribute to the country’s food security and continued economic growth.
This call came from Government Senator, Floyd Morris, as he addressed the Kingston 4-H Club’s annual Parish Achievement Day, held recently at the Excelsior High School’s Mountain View Avenue location.
He said that agriculture is one of the critical planks for production and economic development, with the sector contributing some eight per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per annum. He said it is important for the youth to understand that they have a key role to play in the development of the sector.
“It is extremely important that our young people…get involved in meaningful agricultural production because that is what is needed if Jamaica is to see the transformation and the sustainable economic growth that we need in our society,” Senator Morris stated.
He lamented that many young people tend to scoff at agriculture.
“They say agriculture is not a ‘sweet boy’ work or a ‘pretty girl’ job. They believe that agriculture is akin to an old man in a hat and ‘pitchy patchy’ pants and water boots, so they don’t want to get involved in agriculture,” Senator Morris said.
The Senator argued, however, that agriculture involves much more than toiling away in the field, noting that technological advancements have transformed the sector.
“For agriculture to be successful it has to be technologically driven and that is what we will have to instill in our young people and also to put in the necessary measures so that young people can access the technology to get into agricultural production,” he noted.
Senator Morris also emphasised the need to increase production to ensure food security and to reduce the high import bill of some US$1 billion per annum.
He commended members of the 4-H movement “for the tremendous role that you have been playing in terms of us achieving food security and ultimately, to put us on a path of sustainable economic growth.”
He further urged young people in the movement to ensure their involvement in agriculture continues after they leave school.