THE Jamaica 4-H Clubs’ national female and male youth farmers, Chelisa Osbourne and Julio Gordon, are ready to invest their winnings into expanding their pepper and goat enterprises, respectively.
The duo copped the coveted titles at the 4-H Clubs national achievement expo held recently at Denbigh Showground in Clarendon, taking home cash and prizes valued at over $2 million each.
In addition to key farming inputs, the prizes include training to better manage their operations.
Osbourne, who hails from Trelawny, and gave up her registered nurse career for pepper farming, said she is looking to expand into skincare products.
“I am so grateful and beyond words. My next move is to expand what I have and to develop more as a farmer, and I want to go into agro-processing,” she said.
Gordon, for his part, said that winning the title of national male youth farmer was a “blessing”.
The Hanover native said he had recently received an estimate to enlarge his goat farm and was unsure of how he would obtain the required funding.
“Hard work really pays off and I am grateful for everything that the Jamaica 4-H Clubs has done for me; educating me and providing me with the opportunity to build a profitable business [and contribute to] the economic expansion of Jamaica,” the 32-year-old said.
Public relations and marketing manager for the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Karelle McCormack, reported that leading up to the expo, there was a lot of interest from young farmers across the island, who first had to compete at the parish level.
Gordon and Osbourne emerged the winners for their respective parishes.
“These two young farmers have proven themselves to be true champion farmers and they know how to make success out of agricultural enterprises,” McCormack said.
She said the farmers will be getting additional training to move their operations to the next level.
The national female and male youth farmer competition showcases young people involved in crop or livestock production, in terms of demonstration of good agricultural practices, climate-smart practices and integrated production systems, and how the enterprises contribute to economic development.
The Jamaica 4-H Clubs is mandated to provide skills training for young people, from age five, in the areas of agriculture, home economics, social skills, entrepreneurship, environmental awareness and healthy lifestyle.