Agriculture Ministry expands support for young peopleSunday, October 24, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Government is expanding support for young people pursuing training and other engagements in agriculture.
Minister with responsibility for Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, said that $120 million has been allocated to the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in Portland, as part of a commitment to facilitating development within educational institutions.
Additionally, he said the ministry will be providing irrigation systems valued at $2.8 million to primary schools, through a collaboration with the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Jamaica 4-H Clubs.
The minister was addressing the 2021 Rio Tinto Alcan Legacy Fund semi-virtual scholarship presentation ceremony, hosted by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs in Kingston on October 21.
Shaw said the ministry has also partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to establish a new agri-processing laboratory at the Knockalva Polytechnic College in Hanover.
“Furthermore, to solidify our commitment to youth in agriculture, we are expanding our Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Programme (RYEEP) to provide participants with advanced training in business development and management, a start-up grant of $50,000, and up to six months of business coaching,” he informed.
Shaw said the ministry remains committed to leading the “new face” of the food revolution, with specific focus on food security, agri-business development, climate-smart technologies, and export expansion.
Noting that key stakeholders in this process were Jamaica's youth, he maintained that “our educational systems must, therefore, be engineered to provide support that is impactful and relevant”.
Shaw said the areas of focus include science, research, agribusiness, “and practical application programmes from the grassroot to the tertiary stages”.
“Our task, as leaders, is to ensure that we collaborate and bring to the fore, the right resources to aid in the edification and nurturing of the talents of our young people within the sector,” he said.
“So let us continue to play our part to ensure that the agricultural sector has a robust future where we add value and…. make a resounding impact on our young people,” the minister added.
Just over 300 secondary and tertiary students pursuing agricultural studies during the 2021/22 academic year have received scholarships under the Rio Tinto Alcan Legacy Fund Programme.
The programme, administered by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, targets students who are enrolled in an agricultural programme of study, and are from the parishes St Catherine, Manchester, and St Ann, where Rio Tinto Alcan Incorporated's bauxite mining and alumina refining operations were located.
The scholarships are intended to promote social development activities by investing in the recipients' skills training and advancement.
The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and Jamaica 4-H Clubs have partnered with Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. on the scholarship programme.
Chairman of the Scholarship Steering Committee, and Principal of Holmwood Technical High School in Manchester, Hidran McKulsky, indicated that 400 scholarships are being targeted for disbursement this year, while advising that applications will remain open until November 26.
Individuals can visit the 4-H Clubs website - www.jamaica4hclubs.com, call the head office at 876-927-4050-2, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their Instagram, Twitter or Facebook social media platforms.
The Rio Tinto Alcan Legacy Fund was established in 2010, nine years after the entity ended its 59-year operations in Jamaica, to maintain the entity's contribution to the country's social and economic development.