Gov’t supporting youth, disabled persons in agriculture – Morris Dixon Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Government is committed to ensuring that the youth gain access to funds to support their agricultural endeavours, Cabinet Minister, Senator Dr Dana Morris Dixon, has said.

According to her, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining Ministry is earmarking $390 million for such young farmers locally.

Morris Dixon, the Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with responsibility for information, skills and digital transformation, made the announcement at last week’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

She said the Floyd Green-led Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining Ministry will also be providing assistance to persons with disabilities, along with women.

“Twenty-five per cent of all new agro-park lands will be reserved or assigned to women, youth and persons with disabilities,” said Morris Dixon.

“This is our Administration saying, ‘We’re not leaving anyone behind; everyone is going on that prosperity train that has already moved off the platform,” she stated.

In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate on May 21, Green said through an initiative called Project Feeding the Economy through Empowerment and Development (FEED), 25 per cent of all new agro-park lands will be reserved for assignment to women, youth and persons with disabilities.

He further indicated that $390 million under the ministry’s Production Incentive Programme will be earmarked for access by young farmers to support specific crop lines.

Green said youth will be able to apply via a special portal created by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to access the benefit, and through their elected representatives, subject to the appropriate verifications.

“Under Project FEED, we will be partnering with the HEART/NSTA Trust to provide youth and women who graduate and are certified in greenhouse production, with a greenhouse or shade house free of cost, and input support for their first crop,” he outlined.

The minister further noted that under the initiative, a $100-million agricultural scholarship programme is to be introduced to provide support for young people, especially those excelling in agriculture and related fields.

Green also said island-wide tractor operations and maintenance training are to be provided free of cost. This, he said, will be done in partnership with HEART/NSTA Trust and the private sector.

He also informed that under Project FEED, the Jamaica 4H Clubs is to introduce a new small ruminant training programme to train and certify youth and women.

The minister advised that at the end of that exercise, the participants are to be provided with animals to start their own commercial operations.