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Sheriffe's dream

Budding agronomist dedicated to reducing imports

Sunday, September 15, 2019

HARRIAL Sheriffe developed a fascination for plant science while roaming the fields of his parents' farm as a young boy. He would walk to the farm, a mile from the family home in Carron Hall, St Mary, to assist with growing sweet pepper, cabbage, and lettuce. But while his parents focused on cultivating and harvesting, he was taken with the process of plant growth.

So, even at the age of nine, he would spend hours examining the leaves of the crops and observing the plants' growth from start to finish.

In high school he studied biology and physics, and he participated in science and environmental clubs to expand his knowledge. His pursuit for information on plant science led him to an open day at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) where, during a tour of the college's ornamental and hydroponics areas at age 14, Sheriffe made the decision to enrol in the Portland institution.

“CASE is recognised as one of the most well-rounded institutions in the field of agriculture and they possess the necessary professional tools and facilities for me to explore plants to a deeper level. And, as such, I knew from the beginning that it was the institution for me,” Sheriffe told the Jamaica Observer last week.

Now 24, Sheriffe, the budding agronomist who is in the third year of a Bachelor of Science in Plant Science, has big plans for local plant production.

“I was able to gain knowledge on plant development through detailed research in plant pathology and plant physiology, as well as through practical interactions with crop plants on the farm and through engaging in the farmers' association programmes in my community and environmental development clubs,” Sheriffe shared.

“Upon leaving college I want to further my studies and develop my skills in plant breeding and agronomy. And with my knowledge in plants, I will be more competent to communicate and inform farmers on the proper practices on how to grow their crops,” he added.

Sheriffe intends to continue his studies overseas, but he pledges to return to Jamaica to help improve crop production in the country, as he is convinced the country can surpass its current production numbers and import less crops from foreign countries.

The young man, who says he is a natural leader who leaves an exceptional mark on anything he undertakes, is the recipient of the Roger Clarke Memorial and Seprod Foundation scholarships.

“Receiving both scholarships signified that I am a promising young man with a productive vision. Furthermore, it meant I am doing something good that's worth investing in.”

The Roger Clarke Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding student at CASE, as judged by performance of the first year in college. The successful student is interviewed and chosen, in conjunction with the Human Resources Department of the CB Group, from a shortlist recommended by the CASE board. The scholarship is intended to encourage youth to see agriculture as a viable field to pursue professionally. The initiative is the brainchild of the CB Group, and part of its corporate responsibility is to help fund this type of dream in memory of the late agriculture minister.

Sheriffe is also a Nutramix Youth in Agriculture ambassador.

“Being aligned with Nutramix is a distinguished and honourable feeling because they're the leading producers of quality animal feed. They also highlight young people who are doing well in agriculture. This augurs well for the agricultural sector and the economy by extension,” he said.