$22.75-m support for agriculture at Vere Technical High School

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, addresses a World Food Day event at the Vere Technical High School in Clarendon on Thursday, October 20. Photo: JIS

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, has announced a programme of assistance totalling $22.75 million, to develop the agriculture programme at Vere Technical High School.

He was speaking at a World Food Day event on the school’s compound in Clarendon on Thursday.

Minister Charles Jr said that the multi-agency initiative inaugurates the Ministry’s thrust to advance support for agriculture in schools across the country.

At Vere Technical, the assistance will allow for the establishment of a dairy unit through the Jamaica Dairy Development Board with the donation of 20 heifers, pasture development and the construction of a milk parlour, valued at $20 million.

Additionally, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), 200 broiler chicks and 20 bags of feed will be provided for the school at a value of $200,000.

The school’s garden will also be renovated with the provision of 200 vegetable seedlings for container gardening projects and 1,200 vegetable seedlings for the hydroponics house and greenhouse, valued at $50,000.

The programme of assistance includes the planting of 50 fruit trees and the implementation of a comprehensive nutrient management programme valued at $1 million, and the contribution of a walk-behind tractor for the school farm from the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, valued at $500,000.

“The National Irrigation Commission will also be collaborating with the Water Resources Authority to provide water for the institution’s agricultural endeavours, which will also support the establishment of a fishpond with the capacity for 1,500 fish, valued at $1 million. This will provide a more cost-efficient source of protein for the school,” the Minister said.

He said that the Ministry will be examining ways to expand the school’s goat herd, and the National Fisheries Authority will be providing technical assistance for the renovation of the school’s fishpond and ongoing support using best aquaculture practices. The entity will also be stocking the pond with young fish.