Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, has announced a program of assistance totaling $22.75 million to develop the agriculture program at Vere Technical High School.

He was speaking at a World Food Day event on the school’s compound in Clarendon on Thursday, October 20th. 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 parlor valued at $20 million.

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 National Irrigation Commission will also be collaborating with the Water Resources Authority to provide water for the institution’s agricultural endeavors, 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 would 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.

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