Agriculture rebirth: Douglas says more young people participating in farming
The 4-H movement continues to grow exponentially in Jamaica as more young people are buying into the idea that agriculture and the creative sectors are multibillion-dollar industries. The organisation's expansion continues with a record number of 110,152 persons in 1,144 clubs across Jamaica, which is the largest number of participants to date.
"We had 273,108 persons trained, which were done to influence young members towards a career in agriculture, healthy lifestyle, agro-processing and leadership development," said chairman of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Dr Charles Douglas. "Our career development programme was further strengthened with the hosting of four career fairs across Jamaica, which directly affected 1,185 youths," he added.
Under the 4-H Youth in Agriculture Education Initiative, 183 youth received scholarships and bursaries valued at approximately $22.8 million this year.
"There has been a 158 per cent increase in youth farmer registration between 2014 and 2016. So it's like we are experiencing a renaissance in the agricultural sector, resulting from a steady and significant increase of youth involvement over the last three years," said Dr Douglas.
The College of Agriculture Science and Education (CASE) has also reported a 40 per cent increase in young people opting for an education in agriculture. Most of whom according, to the president of CASE Dr Derrick Deslandes, were already exposed to agriculture through the 4-H clubs.
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Agriculture, JC Hutchinson, who delivered a special address at the Jamaica
4-H Clubs National Achievement Day Expo, held at the Denbigh Showground in Clarendon last Friday, also agreed that many outstanding farmers were first introduced to farming through the Jamaica 4-H clubs. "The sustainable growth of the agricultural sector is going to be heavily dependent on the infusion of young people with new and creative ideas in the sector."