Sun | Jan 23, 2022

Growth & Jobs | More youth to be reached under economic empowerment programme

Published:Tuesday | October 26, 2021 | 12:07 AM

THE RURAL Youth Economic Empowerment Programme will be expanded to provide more young people with the necessary training, along with the requisite tools, so that they can pursue successful agricultural businesses.

Minister with responsibility for Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, said that the move is in keeping with the Government’s commitment to increase youth engagement in the agricultural sector.

“Youth inclusion in agriculture is a priority for the ministry as we seek to transform the sector into one that is researched-based, utilising technology and innovation to stimulate and increase production and productivity for both the domestic and international markets,” he said.

“In support of this, 20 per cent of all agricultural lands under government control are now being reserved for youth under preferential terms,” he noted.

He said that the ministry’s goal for this year is to have 800 new youth-owned agricultural enterprises established.

Shaw was speaking at the annual general meeting of The Jamaica 4-H Clubs’ Island Advisory Council, which was held in Manchester last Saturday and broadcast via Zoom.

He indicated that work is far advanced in the establishment of an advocate council, where “our youth will have an opportunity to make an input in the policies and programmes of the ministry”.

He said that to date, 13 applications have been received, and interviews will be conducted during the first week of November.

The advocate council will target persons ages 18 to 35, who will meet regularly with the minister and provide policy direction, establish programmes and communications strategies aimed at getting more young people into farming.

Meanwhile, Shaw said that the ministry is ramping up its focus on increasing production and productivity under the new FACE of food, by looking at food security, agro-business development, climate-smart technologies, and export expansion.