Claudia Gardner, Assignment Coordinator
Acting Regional Coor-dinator for the Western Region of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Fiona Banton, says she would like to see more community groups registering with her organisation so that more cottage industries could be established in the island.
Banton made her comments during an interview with Western Focus at the 13th staging of the St James 4-H Clubs Nyammings and Jammins.
"We do have some community 4-H Clubs, and we want to see more because small-business establishment is the direction in which to go now as we are in hard economic times," Banton said.
She said that by capitalising on the services offered by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, communities could become self-sustaining and this could help to address the country's unemployment situation and food-security issues.
"Our main mandate is training, and we train in all areas of agriculture, including rearing and caring of animals, plant propagation, home economics, leadership skills, social graces, and environmental awareness. So these are some of the things we teach them, because we are undergoing a food-security issue, regardless of how we see it," she said.
"We try to develop that entrepreneurial aspect. With all of that (training), you also learn about food security and how you can preserve food. For example, you have a lot of mangoes in the summer, but come December, you can't find mangoes, so we look at how you can preserve the mangoes so that at least you will have in December and also how you can have tomatoes all year round," Banton said.
She added: "We work mainly through the schools, colleges, and universities, but of course, we extend ourselves to the churches and community clubs, so we have vibrant community clubs as well. We are trying to develop the whole individual, so we start with the youths - as early as the five-year-olds - in the early childhood institutions."