Youth in Agriculture

Agriculture is important to the development of any nation – Jamaica being no exception. Development must include the youth of the country, and as such the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries seeks to encourage their participation in the sector. This effort will require changing the negative perceptions youths have of the major participants in agriculture, farmers, from that of uneducated, unskilled, physical labourers with extremely low economic returns. 

Agriculture is more than farming the soil and rearing animals. The sector offers career opportunities in research, environmental management, financial management, engineering and other technical areas.

The Youth in Agriculture (YIA) Programme is spearheaded by the National Youth in Agriculture Committee which is overseen by the Jamaica 4H Clubs. Its mandate is to encourage young people to become involved in agriculture-based activities as well as to influence them to pursue careers in agriculture and agriculture-based industries. It also serves as a means of enhancing food security across the island.

Youth in Agriculture activities culminate each year at the Denbigh Agricultural Show in Clarendon. Participants compete for prizes including the opportunity for study at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE). The Youth in Agriculture village is one of the main highlights of the Denbigh Show and attracts hundreds of youth patrons from across the island. Young people from institutions including CASE, Ebony Park Heart Academy, the Sydney Pagon Agricultural Committee mount displays in the village.

'Youth in Agriculture' initiatives seek to introduce new technologies and knowledge to youngsters that will lead to:

  • Diversified, modern farming practices
  • New crop varieties and animal strains
  • Less soil pollution
  • Move to bio-energy
  • National food security
  • Reduction in rural-urban migration
  • Increased employment for young persons