CTA director impressed with Denbigh
Impressed with what he saw and heard over two days at the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show, Michael Hailu, director of the Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA), has challenged organisers to export the vast expertise in various sectors.
"I am very impressed with what I have seen and heard ... , about the determination of Jamaican farmers and the Government to transform the agricultural sector as an engine for food security, economic growth, and job creation, especially for young people.
"Jamaican farmers are leading the fight in the region to reverse the trend of high food imports, and the lessons should be shared with other countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere. CTA encourages exchange of lessons and experiences among farmers and entrepreneurs by supporting learning journeys and other forms of capacity building," Hailu declared during his address on Monday.
REDUCING IMPORT BILL
He also highlighted linkages with other industries, such as tourism, as an effective strategy for reducing the region's massive food import bill, which stands at about US$5 billion. This, according to Hailu, is consistent with the long-terms goals of his organisation.
"CTA is promoting agriculture-tourism linkages in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and facilitating cross-learning and formulation of national strategies and plans. Jamaica's experience could be of tremendous interest for other countries in this regard," said Hailu.
He also praised the Jamaica Agricultural Society for its success in attracting young people to be actively involved in the annual show, now in its 64th year.
"It is great to see so many young people at the Denbigh Show displaying innovative ways of farming and value addition, including use of drones. We need many more of such successful young farmers and entrepreneurs. CTA has been actively promoting youth engagement in agriculture, in particular, through the use of information and communication technologies. The Denbigh Show makes a great contribution to creating a positive image for young people that agriculture is exciting, and money can be made in agriculture," he said.