Farm Fest was hosted by the Knockalva Polytechnic College (KPC) as part of its 83rd anniversary celebration as well as to commemorate Farmers’ month in Jamaica. The college, located in Hanover offers tertiary-level programmes in various agriculture disciplines, so students can achieve certification that is aligned to the industry. This was the second staging of the event and was held under the theme ‘Re-imagining Agriculture for Sustainability.’
CARDI Jamaica, a longstanding partner of the college participated in the event on 27 April 2023 as a silver sponsor. Under the EU/ CARIFORUM –funded regional coconut project being implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and CARDI, a coconut nursery was constructed on the college’s campus. The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Honourable Pearnel Charles Jnr. after viewing the 3,000 capacity coconut nursery expressed his appreciation for the project’s support to the Coconut Industry Board. He also commended the invaluable practical experience the KPC students would gain on good nursery operations. The Minister also visited the CARDI booth which provided information on the Institute’s research and development activities on other crops and livestock. In keeping with the theme of the event, CARDI also used the opportunity to share with students and teachers career opportunities in agriculture.
Ms. Natalie Thompson, Principal, KPC, in outlining some of the event’s objectives, spoke of promoting interest in agriculture, encouraging the acquisition of knowledge about agricultural practices, and challenging KPC’s students and staff to embrace their role in the realisation of the national goals for sustainable development.
During his address, Minister Charles expressed the Government’s recognition of the importance of the engagement of youths in re-imagining agriculture for sustainable development. He further explained that the Government has policies that target a 20% involvement of youth in initiatives undertaken. He stated that the only way forward is for the youths to be trained, excited, motivated and energised to transform our agriculture sector.