The Agro-Invest Corporation (AIC) and Jamaica 4-H Clubs have partnered to formulate and execute the Youth in Agriculture land lease programme.
Under this initiative, eligible youth farmers were selected to access lands provided by the AIC.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (September 7), Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, said through collaboration with other stakeholders including the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the National Irrigation Commission (NIC), youth farmers have been provided with technical support, market linkages and irrigation solutions to facilitate sustainable agricultural projects that are profitable.
“So far, the Ministry has issued 70 leases for agro parks located across the island. In the first instance of distribution, some 20 leases went to youth farmers for agro parks located across the island and 20 leases went to investors,” he said.
Currently there are 1,403.52 hectares of land in production for the Agro Parks and Production Zones for June 2022.
In addition to receiving their lease contracts, the youth farmers benefited from guidance on input suppliers, cash crops and tubers (pineapple, onion, sweet potato, Irish potato, and hot peppers), and agro processing, among other inputs.
The Youth in Agriculture land lease programme, once fully implemented, will increase access to government-owned Agro-Park and Production Zone lands for eligible young farmers; improve the economic and social status of the youth; and increase agribusiness knowledge and entrepreneurial skills among young farmers.
The programme also aims to focus on youth and technology and form clusters led by youth to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration in agribusiness activities, and create sustainable linkages between young farmers and stakeholders in the agribusiness sector.