Poor infrastructure blamed for rural-urban drift
Minister of Agriculture Minister Karl Samuda is blaming the lack of infrastructural development for both rural-urban drift and the migration of trained young people, who feel they have no other option but to move away in search of opportunities for advancement.
According to Samuda, there are two types of infrastructural development, hard and soft. He noted that the infrastructural issues coupled with the exigencies of climate change were driving away young people from farming.
"At the root of the problem is the need for infrastructural development in rural Jamaica, and by infrastructural development, I mean both hard infrastructure and soft infrastructure," said Samuda. "Hard infrastructural development has to do with roads, water and electricity, while soft infrastructural development has to do with technology."
Samuda, who was speaking at Thursday's World Food Day National Ceremony and Exhibition at the Knockalva Agricultural School in Ramble, Hanover, says both hard
and soft infrastructural developments are necessary to create economic growth and development.
World Food Day is observed annually on October 16 in over 150 countries, but with October 16 being observed as National Heroes Day in Jamaica, the Ministry of Agriculture decided to start its observation on October 13. The ministry, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is piloting the observation under the theme: migration, food security and rural development.
ACCESS TO INTERNET
"You cannot develop a community at this time in our history unless you expose every child to access to Internet services," said Samuda. "My ministry is seeking to ensure that in all the rural areas that we are trying to encourage youngsters to remain in farming, they are able to keep in touch with the rest of the world through technology."
He added, "This is with a view to get them to see what is happening there (in the wider world), to form a basis for comparisons, and to assess their own contributions and what they can do to help agriculture in Jamaica and the broader international scene."
Samuda went on to praise the FAO for its emphasis on youth in agriculture, and its displayed commitment to the importance of climate change.
"We in Jamaica cannot afford to ignore climate change because we know that for us to grow agriculture, we need to depend on the supply of water, while finding the answers to the emerging frequency of droughts and hurricanes," the agriculture minister said.