Forty young people from across the island have been selected to become agricultural aides to provide support out in the field to extension officers of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
Through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) inked with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the HEART NSTA Trust and the Housing Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme, the individuals, who are under the age of 35 years, will receive technical skills training to meet the needs of the agricultural sector.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Floyd Green said the hope is to get the individuals out in the fields by December to be able to reach farmers especially in light of the recent climatic events that caused flooding to farms.
The Minister also pointed out that the young people will be engaged for a period of six months in the initial phase and paid a stipend of $11,000 weekly, which will be drawn from a budget allocation of $10.8million.
“They will be coming on to help us with our data gathering, which we want to do a better job of because we want to ensure that all of our decisions are data-driven. We want to have the best data on-hand in real time,” the Minister said.
“They will be technically trained, so they will be able to identify early issues that the farmers face and importantly they will also help in feeding the information when our farmers have challenges and suggestions to the extension officers,” Mr. Green continued.
He was speaking at the MOU signing ceremony, at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens offices in Kingston on November 17.
Minister Green expressed hope that following the engagement, the youth will transition to become a pool of preferred candidates to bolster the number of RADA extension officers, which currently stands at 99.
“Additionally, these young people will use some of the technical expertise learned to set up their own farms or to expand farms. They will seek to upgrade to tertiary education going into courses at Ebony Park or the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE),” Mr. Green noted.
He pointed out that this is a practical step to getting more young people interested in the field of agriculture.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, RADA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Thompson, welcomed the MOU as a means to stimulate the agricultural sector for economic growth.
“The HOPE Programme is very important to RADA because it offers the human resource and we hope that those aides that will be coming on board will appreciate the value and what agriculture means,” he said.
Mr. Thompson said RADA remains resolute to train these young people “so that they can matriculate into other programmes, whether CASE or other institutions so that they can acquire skills to come and build up the sector”.
Managing Director of the HEART Trust NSTA, Dr. Janet Dyer, for her part, said this MOU fits perfectly into the mandate of the institution, which is the development of the human capital.
“I want to commend the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for the insight demonstrated by choosing to target our young people for this meaningful engagement and for further seeing it to choose HEART to implement,” she said.
Welcome to the official website of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) has been charged with the responsibility of driving the integration of the production of primary agricultural produce along all the stages of the supply chain through to value added and facilitating full commercialization of outputs of the agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors.
We have, therefore, placed much energy and enthusiasm into the development of this website to provide timely information on the Ministry, our agencies and programmes.
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