St Mary agri expo to simplify technology for farmers
Christina Clarke (second right), coordinator of the St Mary Farm Queen competition, joins the participants (from left) Shanique Hunter, Natalia Reid, and Shauna Lee Flych.(Photo: Ingrid Henry)

The 35th staging of the St Mary Agricultural Expo, scheduled for the Gray's Inn showground on Easter Monday, April 10, will be aimed at taking farmers from the old way of doing business into a more modern, technology-based system.

This year's show will be targeting modernising farming and farming techniques, under the theme 'Smart Agriculture Harnessing the Power of Atomisation and Digitisation for a Sustainable Future'.

According to president of the St Mary Association of Branch Societies of the Jamaica Agriculture Society (JAS) Fabian Rhule, "This year's experience will be of a wide range, introducing the various technologies in farming, whether to enhance production or prevention of praedial larceny."

Rhule added that the use of drone technology will be one of the main highlights of the show as this will assist farmers with crop reaping, praedial larceny, and other issues.

He pointed out that an innovation centre will be another attraction at the expo, where farmers who are using creative technology on their farms will be on show.

Rhule told the Jamaica Observer that four farmers have already been identified among those using innovative technology. These farmers are involved in growing papayas, coconut and livestock, including sheep rearing.

The College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) will also use the expo to provide information on a new degree which it has introduced in drone technology.

This year a member of the St Mary 4-H Club who will be making the transition from high school to college will be selected to be the recipient of a Sandals Foundation scholarship to attend CASE in the new school year.

In addition, three young women will be vying for the crown of St Mary Farm Queen while there will be other competitions staged, including the greased pig catch, coconut husking, young farmers competition, and the parading of animals.

The expo will close with a concert headlined by dancehall star Agent Sasco.

BY INGRID HENRY Observer writer

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