Repositioning agriculture among youth necessary – minister

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Repositioning agriculture among youth necessary – minister

Sunday, November 22, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, says there needs to be a comprehensive repositioning of agriculture among the nation’s youth, including how it is presented in the school system and, by extension, viewed by society as a lesser career choice.

Addressing the launch of a youth in agriculture roadmap recently, Green said that along with creating a youth in agriculture policy, which would address some of the long-standing issues that face the youth in agriculture such as access to land and funding for agriculture, marketing and information about the industry, the issue of how agriculture is taught in schools will also have to be addressed.

“There also has to be a bigger approach and a bigger rethink, and a part of that rethink will have to start in our education sector,” he said.

“Agriculture is not a secondary profession. It's not a fallback profession. It is not something you do if you don’t have anything else to do. We need agriculture to be given pride of place in our education curriculum and not just to be taught to our students on the basis of primary agriculture,” Green said.

According to the minister, the agriculture curriculum must also epitomise the agri-business push that is needed in the society at large.

“So, we want more of the business of agriculture, the dollars and cents of agriculture, the cost of production, the markets, how you write your business plans, how you look to value-added [products] and how you look to agro-processing,” he added.

Given the current reality, the minister said the agriculture curriculum has to directly address climate change, innovation and technology.

“We want our young people to leave secondary schools choosing agriculture, saying that I want to be a farmer,” he said.

“So this rethink of youth in agriculture means that we will have to take a relook at how we position agriculture, how we position the sector, and a realisation that the sector is a business and that we need our young people to choose the sector,” he added.

The ministry, he noted, has already formulated a programme to help in this area, which will see successful farmers sharing their stories.

“Nothing inspires participation more than inspirational stories of success, and, unfortunately, the reality is, oftentimes when you hear stories about agriculture and farming you hear the sad stories,” Green said.

However, he said part of the ministry’s job is to share the farmers’ success stories, so that young people can know that there is a bright future in farming.

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