Rio Tinto Alcan - Legacy Fund grants $9.4m in scholarships
Some 164 agriculture students have received scholarships valued at $9.4 million through the Rio Tinto Alcan Legacy Fund.
The scholarships were presented during a function on Friday at the Jamaica 4-H Clubs Headquarters in Kingston.
Under the agreement between Rio Tinto and the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, the fund will give assistance to students pursuing agricultural studies at vocational, secondary and tertiary institutions in the parishes of St Ann, St Catherine, and Manchester.
Some of the beneficiary schools for the 2016 cohort include: York Castle, Brown's Town, Jonathan Grant, Guy's Hill and Bog Walk high schools, and the College of Agriculture, Science and Education.
The scholarship covers tuition, transportation, books and lunch costs.
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda said he was pleased that the scholarships were provided to students at both the secondary and tertiary levels.
"This significantly supports our own efforts, through our Youth in Agriculture Programme to attract and engage young people in making a career in the agriculture and agro-industry sectors," he said.
Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs Dr Ronald Blake expressed his appreciation for the initiative and its $33.5 million investment in agricultural education over a six-year period.
Pointing to the recent reports of a 2.3 per cent growth in the Jamaican economy for the July to September quarter, Blake noted that there is a correlation between growth in the agricultural sector and growth in the economy.
"There is no other sector that has the capacity and the sustainability of growing the Jamaican economy than the agricultural sector ... . It is against that background that I want to say how grateful we are to Rio Tinto for this great contribution to the economic development of Jamaica," he said.
Rio Tinto was acquired by Alcan in 2007. Alcan's operations in Jamaican spanned over 50 years, having begun in 1952, as the country's first mining company.
The scholarship programme started in 2010 and is funded by Rio Tinto Alcan Inc (formerly Alcan) through investments in Jamaica under the management of the Development Bank of Jamaica.
The scholarship programme, was established in recognition of the long-standing relationship between the organisation and the Government of Jamaica.