Agriculture Minister Pearnel Charles Jr has announced that more young Jamaican females are showing an interest in farming and seeking agricultural lands.
The minister was speaking at the 18th Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) capital markets conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, recently.
“I have seen, fortunately, a great interest in young female farmers. We have had… a boom in interest from persons who want to seek leases. I would say the majority of who we gave leases to last year were young farmers, and the majority of those young farmers were female,” the minister said.
Charles Jr. outlined that the ministry’s policy is for 20 per cent of its activities to be allocated to youth and vulnerable persons.
In addition, he pointed out that getting more of the nation’s youth on local farms, especially those who are unattached, remains a focus.
“We’re taking a deliberate approach to increase training, increase opportunities for scholarships and bursaries and to work with HEART/NSTA Trust and other programmes to see how we can certify and encourage and incentivise youngsters to see farming not just as attractive but viable,” he said.
“The ultimate goal will be for us to be able to put enough money in the pockets of the primary producers, that they see farming, not just as a side hustle but, if they choose, as their main source of income,” he added.
Last year, 166 scholarships and bursaries were awarded to youth in agriculture and more than 187 youth agro-enterprises were established and are operational. Agricultural lands were leased to young farmers under the Agro-Investment Corporation’s ‘Youth in Agriculture’ Programme.