Jamaica:The Jamaica 4-H Clubs has been giving technical assistance primarily to youth farmers to succeed in various challenges while introducing them to proper farming techniques.
Executive Director, Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Dr Ronald Blake, told thatthat his organisation’s technical assistance would improve the work of extension officers and the help they provide to farmers.
“One of the things that our staff members were able to do was to complement the technical assistance within the Ministry of Agriculture [and Fisheries], and we went out there because most of our field staff are agriculturally trained. They went out and encouraged to provide technical information, particularly to youth farmers, but we did not separate,” he replied.
Agricultural extension officers advise farmers, agricultural businesses, rural industries, amongst others, on the production, processing and distribution of farm products.
The officers form part of the agricultural extension services that are provided through many programmes and projects, aimed at empowering farmers to cope with potential and evolving difficulties and risks and see how best they can survive and maintain productivity.
Blake stated that in addition to the extension services, training was provided to volunteers and voluntary groups by webinars to help them retool in various skill areas.
“We also took the chance to strengthen our online capabilities, did a lot of training of our volunteers, particularly in the use of technology to complement what we would have done in the past,” he said.
He added, too, that training materials were provided to members.
In the meantime, Dr Blake is encouraging more persons to get into agriculture in the coming year.
“It’s really a good time for any youngster to get into agriculture. We are seeing some excellent trends in agriculture, and the programmes at the 4-H Clubs have allowed for a lot more persons to get agricultural education,” he said.
The Jamaica 4-H Clubs was established in 1940. According to the 4-H Act of 1966, it is the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ youth training arm committed to developing outstanding leaders with market.