Oral Stewart, a 36-year-old farmer from southwest St Elizabeth, was elated that he was about to start his new year brightly.
Stewart is one of 172 farmers from across the island who departed for Canada yesterday as part of the Canadian Farm Work Programme.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has recruited farmers over the years for the Canadian labour market as it seeks to increase the number of persons benefiting from the overseas employment programme.
Stewart stated that he has been involved in farming for as long as he could remember and that the practice has been a tradition in his family over the years.
"I have been in the programme for four years now. I didn't expect much out of it the first time around but at the end of the day, I achieved a lot. This pushed me to go on and help out other people as well. I would encourage everybody to be a part of this programme and take part in it," Stewart told The Gleaner.
"The money I earn helps me when I get back to Jamaica. I get to build on my own farm from it. Each time I put another $100,000 in my farm, it helps me and other people in my community as well because I employ them, enabling them to achieve more and build towards starting their own farm," he added.
Delon Henderson, a 42-year-old farmer from St Thomas, also commented on the benefits gained from the programme as this is his 17th time embarking on it.
"I would encourage a lot of youths to try out the programme other than sitting around doing nothing. It gives you something productive to do with your time. Even right now, I'm building my house from the money earned in the programme. It is nice and I get to eat a food same time, send my youth to school and run my family, so I am encouraging nuff of the youths go try it and reap the rewards," he said.