Career & Education

Development bank, bauxite institute

Sunday, May 05, 2019

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TRANSPORT and Mining Minister Robert Montague is hoping that the new breed of agricultural scientists and farmers will unlock the potential of indigenous herbs and spices, and said as much when he addressed recipients of the Development Bank of Jamaica-funded Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) scholarships on Thursday.

The recipients, eight students of Portland-based College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) pursuing the Associate Degree in General Agriculture with special focus on greenhouse production and management, reside in JBI greenhouse cluster areas in Clarendon, Manchester, St Ann, St Catherine, and St Elizabeth.

The awards are valued at $600,000 each ($300,000 for each of two years) and are provided under the inaugural JBI/Alcan Rio Tinto Legacy Fund Scholarship Programme to cover tuition, boarding, meals, among other things.

Six of the eight scholarship recipients have already been identified and began studies in the 2018/2019 academic year. The other two are yet to be chosen, but are slated to begin studies in September.

In his remarks at the scholarship signing ceremony held at his St Andrew office on Thursday, Montague said that the programme is an investment in the country's future.

“The investment is being made in these eight young farmers and this is speaking to sustainability, not only of the greenhouse cluster projects, but also the sustainability of the communities. This scholarship will put you on a pathway that opens the whole world to you,” he told the students.

Montague encouraged them to use their education “to unlock the potential of indigenous herbs and spices and create new markets for these crops”.

“Don't be constrained in the traditional way of how you think of agriculture. Think of the linkages in agriculture; think of how you can process and extract and break new ground. As a young farmer, it means you can break down the barriers, plough new fields and develop new ideas,” he pointed out.

Acting director of the JBI, Dr Hugh Lambert encouraged the awardees to give back to their communities.

“When you graduate, we hope that you are going to go back and help to improve on the scientific delivery of agricultural knowledge to our farmers,” he said.

Scholarship recipient Shanile Scott, who said she has always had a love for plants, told JIS News that her ambition is to go into agro-processing.

“To get this scholarship, I am very grateful because it is a very big opportunity for me to (pursue) my passion for agriculture,” she said.

Another recipient, Allister Gardener, said he is interested in combining agriculture with pharmaceutical sciences.

“Seeing that JBI has invested in me, I will make it a point of duty to make them proud...Agriculture is life...It is very interesting and I see that I can make a very good living from agriculture,” he noted.

The scholarship programme was created to facilitate sustainability of the JSIF/JBI Water Harvesting and Greenhouse Cluster Project, which is administered under the Bauxite Community Development Programme. Under the agreement, the students will be required to complete 200 hours of work study at greenhouse sites in their respective parishes during each year of study. They will also have the opportunity to operate their own greenhouses following graduation.

 

— JIS


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