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Youth To Be Certified In International Food Safety

Participants in the Agro-Investment Corporation’s (Agro-Invest) Youth in Agriculture Programme are slated to benefit from local and international food-safety certification.

The Programme aims to support the future of farming in Jamaica by providing resources and expertise to select young farmers, with 50 young persons aged 18 to 35 currently participating.

Marketing and Communications Manager at Agro-Invest, Alecia Brown-Forbes, says additional focus has been placed on improving the offerings of the programme.

“We… decided that we are going to include two other features… we are going to offer them local and international food-safety certification as well as [increase] the minimum amount of land that we usually lease to the youth to five acres. If we realise, however, that youth have the potential to invest in more than five acres, then they can get multiples of five-acre plots to lease from us under the programme.” Mrs. Forbes said.

With the added benefit of food-safety certification, youth will be exposed to the fundamentals of handling, preparing and storing what they produce in a way that meets established standards. Meanwhile, persons applying to the programme are being reminded that they must be able to outline their finances in order to apply.

The business proposal form, which is a required document for the application process, asks for these details and is available on the Agro-Invest website at agroinvest.gov.jm.

“When persons connect with us through our website or on social media, for example, or they call us, we want to remind them that the application forms are available for download on the website. What they have to do is fill out an application form as well as we ask them to fill out a business proposal form,” she said.

“The form… outlines their access to market as well as it gives the information on whether they have any knowledge of agriculture at all. It will also give us an idea as to how they will conduct their business in general since farming is a business. This provides us with basic information we can use in the selection process,” Mrs. Forbes explained.

Persons can visit the Agro-invest on Facebook at Agro-investJa or call 876-9230086.