Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson (third left), presents farming tools to Agriculture Science Teacher at Wait-A-Bit Primary School, Odene Brown, during the launch of the Trelawny School Garden Feeding Programme at the Wakefield Primary and Infant School on Friday (March 6). Sharing the moment are: Vice Chairman for the Trelawny School Garden Committee, Courtney Taylor (right); and students of Wait-A-Bit Primary School.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, on Friday (March 6), launched the Trelawny School Garden Feeding Programme.
The launch was held at the Wakefield Primary and Infant School which is one of the two institutions in the parish where the project is being initially rolled out, the other being Wait-A-Bit Primary School.
The programme aims to demonstrate good agricultural practices to students, particularly in the area of climate smart agriculture.
Additionally, schools will serve as training sites for students as well as farmers in the surrounding communities.
It is also anticipated that the initiative will help to reduce absenteeism and tardiness among students, thereby improving literacy and numeracy levels at the different institutions.
The programme will shortly also be rolled out at Troy Primary School, Hastings Primary School, Perth Town Academy, Albert Town High School, and Muschett High School in Trelawny.
All of the institutions will receive donations of farming tools as part of inputs being provided for the engagement.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Hutchinson expressed the hope that the initiative will serve as the springboard that revitalizes breakfast programmes in the schools across the parish.
“With all these produce that you are planting here, I want to see it going into a breakfast programme because what we have been finding is that roughly 30 per cent of our students come to school in the mornings without breakfast,” the Minister stated.
Against this background, he said “we want to make sure that you have a breakfast programme for every student”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hutchinson lauded the administration of Wakefield Primary on their school garden project, which began in January.
He indicated that he will be lobbying support for the school’s acquisition of an additional 10 acres of land, at an adjacent property, for farming.
“I will be [taking steps] to make sure that you get that 10 acres so that you can provide an income, not only for the school garden, but also for the school,” Mr. Hutchinson added.
For his part, Vice Chairman for the Trelawny School Garden Committee, Courtney Taylor, encouraged schools and farmers to embrace the programme in order to boost agricultural production across the parish.
“For us to meet these objectives and to have at least the seven schools participating under the programme, it will require a collaborative effort from all stakeholders. [So] I am appealing to everyone to support this worthy cause,” he said.
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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.
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