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  • More than 102,000 young persons have been trained and 453 school gardens established under the ‘Youth in Agriculture’ initiative, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, has revealed.
  • He was delivering the main address at the 58th Annual Hague Agricultural, Livestock and Food Show, in Trelawney, on March 5.
  • Crops like Irish potato, ginger and peppers can be grown on small acreages and so we encourage the young people to look to farming as a viable alternative for employment and income generation...

More than 102,000 young persons have been trained and 453 school gardens established under the ‘Youth in Agriculture’ initiative, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, has revealed.

The on-going project was undertaken in 2001 by the Ministry, in collaboration with the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Jamaica 4-H Clubs.

“Over the years, farming has primarily been undertaken by our men, but we believe that farming is everybody’s business.  As a result, the Ministry has been encouraging our women and young people to become involved in farming through projects which focus on incorporating more women and youth in agricultural activities,” the Minister  said.

He was delivering the main address at the 58th Annual Hague Agricultural, Livestock and Food Show, in Trelawney, on March 5. The show was staged under the theme: ‘Empowering youth in agriculture: grow what we eat, eat what we grow’.

“Too often we hear the complaint from some exporters and bulk purchasers that they can’t get enough produce, or that the supply is inconsistent and unreliable.  We want all that to change, so we want all hands on deck.  We are encouraging more women and young people to come on board and get involved,” Mr. Clarke urged.

He advised that the Ministry has introduced a youth and women component in an Irish potato growing programme, and that to date 38 hectares have been planted with the number of beneficiaries being 168 youth and women.

“Crops like Irish potato, ginger and peppers can be grown on small acreages and so we encourage the young people to look to farming as a viable alternative for employment and income generation.  We are also looking to the young farmers, those being trained in our agricultural institutions, to lead the way in implementing solutions to the threats we face in the agricultural sector,” the Minister said.

He indicated that the threats include the increase in the intensity and frequency of climate-related natural hazards, such as hurricanes, floods and droughts, and the country’s fragile ecosystems.

“To lessen the impact of these challenges, we need to explore ways of increasing crop production and productivity through diversity, with the planting of more drought-resistant and high-yielding crops, as well as the use of alternative sources of energy,” the Minister said.

“These are some of the initiatives we would like our young people to get excited about as we move forward and seek to modernize our sector for the greater good of all Jamaicans,” he added.