The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry is promoting a new initiative that mentors agricultural students in the business side of the industry and its connection with tourism.
Project Chair Nadine Spence, while speaking to students of Knockalva Polytechnic College following a visit to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and Half Moon Hotel in St. James last Tuesday (January 31), highlighted the “convenient marriage” between the two industries and spoke on various economic opportunities that result from the bond.
She said that the goal of the initiative is to sensitise students studying agriculture on its increasing importance of agriculture and them with first-hand experience of the process of linking farming with tourism.
“A lot of times they are in school, they only get to see the theory. We also want to give them the content so they can connect the dots. So, we thought this was a good initiative to get them out, and Half Moon was quick to say ‘yes’,” said Spence.
Oral Heaven, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce said many Jamaicans tend to fail to see the “bigger picture”, when it comes to agriculture and added that young people need to understand the huge demand for locally produced good in the tourism sector which presents opportunities for them to do well.
“We have doctors, lawyers, and teachers, but somebody has to feed them; we must ensure that persons, especially our young people, see the importance of farming,” he said.
Assistant Landscaping Manager at Half Moon, Navardo Mighten, sees farming as a cost-cutting benefit for the hotel, and said the guests are thrilled about the prospect of eating freshly grown produce.
He added: “There was a time when persons used to look down on farming and farmers as if
agriculture wasn’t something to be taken seriously. Those days are over, as farming is now big business and The hotels, and I can speak for Half Moon, are seeing the wisdom of supporting the sector fully, which makes it a win-win for all.”