Time to get agro-smart — Shaw


Time to get agro-smart — Shaw

By Kasey Williams
Observer writer

Monday, February 10, 2020

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The latest technology in agriculture was on display at the inaugural National Youth on Agriculture symposium held at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) recently.

Hundreds of high school students turned out at the symposium held under the theme 'I am Agri-Smart' and engaged in activities relating to agriculture and affiliated industries.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw emphasised that there must be a strong connection between youth and agriculture.

“I believe that agriculture, rural development, and our youth are inextricably linked. A youth farmer who is well-trained and amenable to technology is more likely to realise higher levels of production and productivity, thus contributing to further economic development,” Shaw said.

“With the global population expected to increase to nine billion people by 2050, 14 per cent of which represents our young people ages 15 to 24, it is our young people who will become the innovators of tomorrow, feeding this growing population, while conserving our natural resources of land, air and water,” he said.

“For our young people to participate in agriculture successfully, access to information and education is crucial. I welcome this gathering as we educate our young people on the many opportunities that exist within this sector. It is time for us to get agri-smart,” he added.

Among the technology explored were those related to “climate-smart” irrigation, energy conservation, and greenhouse farming. Shaw also advocated the implementation of Israeli technology in private farming investments.

Executive director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Dr Ronald Blake, said the symposium was geared towards having discussions on developing solutions in agriculture.

“Our goal today was to assemble hundreds of youth farmers, as well as future farmers, to have a frank but empowering conversation around key issues identified as the major hurdles to overcome for their entry into the agriculture sector,” said Blake.

NCU President Dr Lincoln Edwards said now is an exciting time to be involved in agriculture because of “advancement in technology including sensors, devices, machines, and information technology. Today's agriculture routinely uses many sophisticated technologies such as robotic technology, which enables more reliable monitoring and management of natural resources such as air and water quality”

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