KINGSTON, Jamaica (Thursday, February 25, 2021) — The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) says that youth inclusion is critical to the growth and expansion of the Agriculture and Fisheries sector.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, on February 23, Chief Executive Officer of the JBDC, Valerie Veira, said that youth involvement is important to fostering a culture of entrepreneurship among members of the sector.
“Youth inclusion is important to changing the perception of agriculture, from you doing some farming, because you don’t have a lot of options. It has to be seen as a career and a business opportunity. So the youth is important to transforming that view. We need to bring young people to the forefront of agriculture, in order to facilitate this renewal,” she emphasised.
Veira shared her comments, while announcing details about the Formalising Operators in the Jamaican Agricultural and Fisheries Sector project, a recently-launched initiative that is aimed at transforming largely informal operators, within the agricultural and fisheries sector, into formal businesses.
According to the CEO, sustainability and creativity are important to growing the industry.
“We need to focus on the basics, as we cannot expect the persons in the industry to always be around; we need new ideas and new blood. It is not just young men, but also young women, who need to be included, because there are many ideas, from both genders, that we need to converge, to move the industry forward,” she added.
Veira said that technology is already being used by young people in agriculture to enhance production.
“Bringing technology even more to the industry is important. We have a client that is using yam in a small area that normally you need acres and acres of land for, and he is using technology to have excellent yield from his investment, so youth is important,” she noted.
One hundred farmers and fisherfolk, from across the island, will receive training in enterprise formalisation and capacity development, under the Formalising Operators in the Jamaican Agricultural and Fisheries Sector project.
Interested persons can access application forms at all 14 Rural Agricultural Development Authority offices, National Fisheries Authority, JBDC’s office, and Small Business Development Centres in Kingston, Manchester, St. Ann, St. James and Westmoreland.
The International Labour Organization-funded project will run from January to November 2021. The JBDC will be the government agency leading the implementation of the project.
The JBDC is the government’s premier business development agency, established in April 2001, to assist in the sustainable creation and development of MSMEs in Jamaica.