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Story Highlights

  • Young people are contributing significantly to the transformation of agriculture in Jamaica and have begun to make a significant impact on the way business is conducted in the sector.
  • Meanwhile, there are increased calls for young persons to seriously consider a future in entrepreneurship to attain personal and professional goals and provide solutions to the nation.
  • “My choice is easy. He or she who has no affiliation will go in the basket. However, he or she who has developed social skills and is a part of an organisation… these are the persons who I will shortlist,” Mr. Stanbury said.

Young people are contributing significantly to the transformation of agriculture in Jamaica and have begun to make a significant impact on the way business is conducted in the sector.

Jamaica 4-H Clubs National Centre Co-ordinator, Andre Anderson, says young farmers are applying new methodologies learnt to their operations and the country is reaping the rewards.

“It’s no surprise. In a period when Jamaica faced one of the most serious and devastating droughts in our recent history, the agricultural sector, though slow, continued to record growth. This is so because we have a younger and more brilliant set of farmers, people who are proud to tell you that they are farmers, because no longer is agriculture something to scoff at or turn up their nose at,” he adds.

He was speaking at the Jamaica 4-H Club’s Achievement Day for St. Catherine, held on Thursday, March 10, at the Friendship Primary School under the theme: ‘Youth Entrepreneurship – Stimulating Economic Growth and Development’.

Mr. Anderson, who spoke on behalf of Jamaica 4-H Clubs Executive Director, Dr. Ronald Blake, highlighted the link between youth involvement in farming and national productivity.  Pointing to the 4-H Clubs’ growing membership, he noted that the increasing number must be linked to Jamaica’s growth agenda.

He explained that many current young farmers were 4-H clubbites, and because of the training which members undergo, they enter the field more enlightened how to manage their operations, particularly soil conservation and parasite management.

“The impact of the Jamaica 4-H is already reaching far and wide into the agriculture sector because, contrary to what we hear, the average age of the Jamaican farmer is 37 years, 23 years lower than the 60 years that we were fed for many years,” he declared.

Meanwhile, there are increased calls for young persons to seriously consider a future in entrepreneurship to attain personal and professional goals and provide solutions to the nation.

President of the St. Catherine chapter of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica, Phillip Keene-Dawes, who represented Custos Rutulorum for the parish, Hon. Rev.  Jeffery McKenzie, urged Jamaican youths to take advantage of the skills training opportunities provided by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs in schools and communities.

“I call upon the youth to take seriously the skills you are being taught because (while) academics has its place in the scheme of things, having a skill will make you more marketable. In this competitive global market, the more qualified you are the better will be your job opportunities,” Mr. Keene Dawes noted.

He further challenged the nation’s young people “to continue to re-energize the Jamaican spirit of resilience, hard work and passion, genuine love for each other and unflinching faith for a better and brighter tomorrow.”

The call was supported by the event’s keynote speaker and Chief Executive Officer of Berry-Don Financial Services Limited, Wayne Stanbury, who underscored the importance of pursuing other avenues in addition to academics, in seeking success.

“Youths are the ones (who) are able to change the landscape of entrepreneurship in Jamaica. For Jamaica to be successful, we have to have young people as entrepreneurs, who are not afraid to take on challenges, not afraid to hear ‘no’, but to recognize that for every ‘no’ there are 10 ‘yeses’,” the businessman said.

“Irrespective of age …and irrespective of what you have as qualification, you can be an entrepreneur. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. You must ensure that you spread your wings,” Mr. Stanbury encouraged.

He pointed out that to be successful in entrepreneurship, effective networking is important and emphasized that persons who are a part of clubs and other wholesome social organizations fare better at their own businesses or getting a job.  He explained that this is of great significance when selecting candidates for job interviews.

“My choice is easy. He or she who has no affiliation will go in the basket. However, he or she who has developed social skills and is a part of an organisation… these are the persons who I will shortlist,” Mr. Stanbury said.