Tue | Aug 22, 2017

JAS programmes target female farmers

Published:Monday | December 5, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Codner has been a farmer for over 10 years.
Pauline Codner with her pigs.
Pauline Codner is one of the female farmers to benefit from the new JAS assistance programme.
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Most households across Jamaica are run by women. They are seen as the tower of strength within the family and their contribution to society cannot be denied.

Recently, about 60 per cent of the farmers targeted for the Entrepreneurial Support Project being undertaken by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) will be women. The project aims to turn small farmers into business operators.

Janette Pullen, manager for marketing, training and projects at the JAS, said that the organisation had undertaken previous entrepreneurial projects in other parishes, but not to the extent of this one. For this programme, farmers will be getting livestock and seedlings for cash crops. So when one is down, they will be able to sustain themselves using the other.

"The support means that the farmers are getting assistance in two different areas of the agricultural sector. We've had interventions in various communities, however, what we have recognised, is that the support was never there. This support project will provide assistance in poultry and cash crops," Pullen explained.

"We're looking for single-women homes. We believe these women usually are the backbone of the family, and by extension, the backbone of the community. Women are economically sustainable and we believe that's the way to go," said Pullen, highlighting the organisation's decision to target female farmers.

 

'A GREAT IDEA'

 

Pauline Codner, a farmer from Porus, Manchester, is one of the farmers who stand to benefit from the project. "I think it's a great idea," she told Flair. "They are offering more than one option to farmers, and I am looking forward to receiving the assistance," Codner said.

She has been a farmer for more than 10 years. "I began rearing goats, which is my first love, and then I went into (other) livestock. For the past year, I have been in the pig market," she explained.

Before venturing into farming, Codner owned and operated a shop. "I was always into business and doing some buying and selling," she revealed.

Nutramix, along with St Jago's Farm Supplies is a partner in this initiative being undertaken by the JAS.

"Women are such a big part of our outreach. We are finding that more and more women are getting into farming and outdoing the men. The current Female Champion Farmer, Jade Lee, as well as last year's Female Champion, Michelle Black, are both Nutramix farmers," highlighted Nutramix brand manager Tina Hamilton.

She added: "It's not surprising that mostly women have been drawn to this entrepreneurial programme with the JAS. It affords everyone an opportunity to build a business with their community and share their progress with like-minded neighbours. We are excited to be a part of this great venture."