CLARENDON, Jamaica— The best of the country’s youth in agriculture was on full display as the three-day Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show got underway on Saturday.
The innovations and best practices by young farmers and agriculture students were the highlight of the opening day which was dubbed ‘Youth Day’.
At the youth village, spearheaded by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, there were exhibitions and demonstrations by talented youngsters, showcasing how they have applied technology to transform agriculture.
Among the exhibitors at the youth village were the finalists in the ‘Grow Smart’ competition, where a share of $1 million is up for grabs.
Angelique Chen of St Mary displayed her vertical drum planter to the delight of those in attendance, while Rolan Rosewell of St Ann created a buzz with his self-sufficient, miniature vegetable and herb garden that waters itself.
Jason Collins, another St Mary native, displayed his Bamboo A-frame that allows for multi-planting.
The youth village is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and the contestants will know their fate on Emancipation Day, Monday August 1.
An impressed Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Pearnel Charles Jr, said that “this new era of agriculture in Jamaica is the era of innovation and efficiency towards sustainability and food security.”
The minister said the Jamaica 4-H Clubs is “on the right track” and “youngsters must be able to stand proud and say I am an agronomist, an agricultural scientist or an agronomic engineer.”
In his address, Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Dr Ronald Blake, noted that the organisation has taken training in agriculture to a new level.
“We have worked to make our youth farmers smarter and so 756 persons were certified in partnership with the HEART/NSTA Trust under the National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J). These are now youngsters who can apply their trade anywhere across the world,” Blake said.
The executive director said plans are in place to certify another 1,000 young farmers this year.
Denbigh, which is in its 68th staging, is the oldest and largest agricultural show in the English-speaking Caribbean. It was halted for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s event, in celebration of Jamaica 60, is being held under the theme: ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’.
The three-day show culminates on Emancipation Bay, Monday, August 1.