Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw has disclosed that a group headed by business mogul, Michael Lee-Chin, is investing in a major agricultural project in St. Catherine.
According to Minister Shaw, the mega farm, to be established on lands formerly occupied by Innswood Sugar Estates, will have mango and soursop orchards, cantaloupes, melons, and short- and long-term crops.
Delivering the keynote address at the Jamaica 4-H Clubs National Youth in Agriculture Symposium held on February 5 at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, Manchester, and Mr Shaw said Mr Lee-Chin has taken over about 3,000 acres of land, and that Israeli technology would be utilised on the farm.
He called on persons at the function, particularly students, to choose agriculture as a career.
The Minister said some 10,527 young persons are in farming, representing five per cent of registered farmers, and while it is a “welcome improvement”, the Ministry’s goal is to see more youth “choosing agriculture as a career”.
Mr Shaw pointed out that the soon-to-be-completed National Youth in Agriculture Policy and Implementation Plan will seek to build a platform to address issues facing youth in agriculture.
“We will also develop the right mix of policies and strategies that meet their needs and aspirations, while simultaneously increasing their effective participation in the sector,” the Minister said.
Held under the theme ‘I am Agri-Smart’, the symposium was geared at creating more awareness of opportunities in agriculture, agriculture education, entrepreneurship, and sensitising persons on the impact of Climate Change. It targeted secondary and tertiary students and youth farmers.