Fifteen students from the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) will head to Israel today for an 11-month agricultural training programme.
The students, who will be in Israel until October 2020, are the first cohort to benefit under a scholarship programme that was initiated following a visit to the Middle Eastern country last year by a Jamaican delegation headed by Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Audley Shaw.
Speaking at a media briefing at the ministry’s St Lucia Avenue office in New Kingston last Wednesday, Shaw noted that the students will be exposed to advanced farming technologies and techniques, which have resulted in high levels of productivity in Israel.
He noted that the Middle Eastern country, which is surrounded by deserts, is able to extract salt from seawater to irrigate lands “because they don’t have the rainfall that God has blessed us with in Jamaica, and [yet] their level of agricultural productivity is unbelievable”.
He added that despite limited rainfall, Israel has been able to produce orchard crops such as oranges, mangoes and avocado and has employed techniques to preserve the little rainfall it receives.
The minister urged the students headed to Israel to take back what they have learnt to make Jamaica a more productive country.
“Be inspired when you go to Israel. Take your mission seriously. Jamaica is in need of your productivity; Jamaica is in need of what you can learn and bring back, so that we, too, can build our levels of productivity in this country,” Shaw said.
In the meantime, the minister praised the efforts of the Economic Growth Council (EGC) and the Israeli Honorary Consul for Jamaica, Gideon Siterman, in collaborating with the ministry to initiate the scholarship award.
The programme is being sponsored by Israel, with the NCB Foundation footing a substantial part of the students’ travel cost.
Another 50 students from across Jamaica are expected to benefit from the progamme next year.