Homer bats for young farmers

IT is time to refresh, reset, and re-energise the agricultural sector by making the sector more attractive and economically viable for young people says Member of Parliament for St James Southern Homer Davis.

Davis, who was making his contribution to the State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries can lead this process by making idle arable lands available to young people.

“It is full time for us to move decisively towards incentivising agriculture in order to attract more persons in agriculture. By doing so we can extend to these young farmers long-term leases on these lands at peppercorn rates,” he said.

Davis said his constituency, which is the largest in St James, accounting for 51 per cent of the parish, has “thousands of hectares of arable lands…all idle,” which can be put to good use.

“I would say to the Ministry of Agriculture, if we are seriously looking for food security for Jamaica, we should identify some of these lands, and not just identify these lands but to engage a younger generation of farmers,” he said.

Davis recommended that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) conduct a comprehensive study of the solid type in St James Southern and, based on the findings, make these lands available to young farmers.

He said that engaging the youth is vital to the sustainability of agriculture, pointing out that the average age of farmers in his constituency is 60 years old.

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