Twenty phenomenal women who have made significant contributions to the field of agricultural education were awarded by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), on Wednesday (June 14).
The presentations were made at the entity’s ‘Women in Agriculture’ Conference, held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, under the theme ‘From Boots to Heels’.
Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, who delivered remarks at the event, pointed out that women have always played a critical role in agriculture.
“Often, their contributions have been overlooked or undervalued, and so this conference is to raise the awareness among Jamaican men and women, to the contribution of women in agriculture,” the Minister said.
Pointing out that women account for roughly 32 per cent of registered farmers in Jamaica, Williams further hailed the awardees and spoke to the value of agricultural training institutions in empowering them to attain higher heights.
For her part, Chair of the Women in Agriculture Secretariat, Jannett Pullen, described the occasion as a ‘feel-good’ conference, one that provided the recipients with an opportunity to be celebrated and to network in a glitzy affair.
“I am so amazingly proud that I can stand here and honour [you],” Pullen said, while pointing out that each year the conference will concentrate on a sector, “because we can’t keep it open”.
“For education, we could have given a thousand persons [but] we had to go down and select 20,” the chief organiser of the event revealed.
Among the women honoured were National Home Economics Coordinator at the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Alicia Fulton; Acting Institution Manager at the Ebony Park Academy, Anita Hall Facey; Research Scientist, Dr Claudia Dunkley; Head of the Agriculture Department at the Garvey Maceo High School, Joy Vincent; Master Trainer for the National Standard Curriculum (NSC), Suzette Johnson and Home Economist/Nutritionist, Versada Campbell.
St Thomas-born Audrene Thomas, Senior Instructor (Acting) at the Ebony Park Academy; former Principal of the Jamaica School of Agriculture, Barbara Smith; Educator, Charmaine Wright; Veterinary surgeon, Dr. Clover Mattocks; Agricultural Science teacher, Denise Davidson-Clarke and former Head of the Home Economics Department at José Martí Technical High School, Doreen Ogle, were also among the
Completing the list were accomplished agricultural researcher, Janette Lawrence; Associate Professor, University of Technology, Dr. Leonie Clarke; Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), Lillieth Clarke-Sinclair; St. Thomas Technical High School educator, Melita Cooper; Deputy Research Director for Crop Production and Plant Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, Michelle Sherwood; Principal of the Knockalva Polytechnic College, Natalie Wallace-
Thompson; Environmental Specialist, Norma Jarett; and retired teacher, coach and
mentor, Rosalyn Little-Blair.
In addition, four agricultural training institutions were recognised, namely CASE, Dinthill Technical High School, Knockalva Polytechnic College, and the HEART/NSTA Trust.
Responding, Jarrett said the awardees are committed to be the voice that amplifies and sheds light on the needs of Jamaica’s female farmers.
“We will continue to provide the network and resources needed for a successful agricultural sector. Ladies, let us recommit to our contribution to the sector and especially the educational arena. Let us be sure to mentor our young women to realise their talent and educational opportunities. Remove the barriers to their successes; help to validate them and their efforts,” Jarrett charged.