My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Marcus Garvey Technical High School Rabbit Rearing Program teaching Teenagers about Modern Farming Techniques

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Marcus Garvey Technical High School Rabbit Rearing Program teaching Teenagers about Modern Farming Techniques

“What we try to do is to donate rabbits to other schools that are interested in having a small livestock unit because a lot of times, these schools don't have the land space to accommodate larger animals. So what we're saying is if schools out there are interested in a livestock unit, they can contact Marcus Garvey Technical High School and we would be glad to give them a pair of rabbits”

Head of the Agriculture Department at the Marcus Garvey Technical High School in St Ann's Bay, Richard Grant, speaking to Rural Xpress during the Second Annual St Ann Agricultural, Industrial, and Food Show in St Ann's Bay on Saturday April 5th, 2014

The Second Annual St Ann Agricultural, Industrial, and Food Show in St Ann's Bay was a sort of coming out party for the Marcus Garvey Technical High School. On that day, the Rabbit Rearing program from that High School’s Agricultural Department was on display, with an offer to help other schools start a Rabbit Rearing program as stated in “Marcus Garvey Technical offers rabbits to other schools”, published Saturday April 5, 2014 by Carl Gilchrist, The Jamaica Gleaner.


The Second Annual St Ann Agricultural, Industrial, and Food Show featured the Agricultural produce from the area saw Marcus Garvey Technical High School’s Agricultural Department stellar 12 man team taking center stage, Ranging from Grades 9 to 11, their display was an example of sustainable Agricultural practices with the immediate benefit of reducing the School's Cost to feed it hungry cohort of students.

Now doing very well, they plan to expand their Rabbit Rearing Technology to other schools by assisting them with bunnies. If you remember from my blog article entitled “Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited to go into large-scale Rabbit Farming - Rabbit Farming is Viable as you just Ignore their Cuteness and slaughter the Bunnies”, Rabbit Meat demand is on the Rise. Albeit the current cost of the meat it high, it has good flavour and merely needs more Farmers rearing Rabbits to bring the costs down.

Hopefully other High Schools will take up Marcus Garvey Technical High School offer of assistance with their Farming program and thus introduce Farming to even the Corporate Area Schools. This would make them realize that Farming and Agriculture is just as viable a career as being a Lawyer or Doctor as pointed out in my Geezam blog article entitled “Jamaica facing an acute Shortage of Qualified Technicians and Engineers for upcoming Projects”, as aside from Engineers and Technicians, we are also facing a shortage of Teenagers (ages 13 to 17) and Millennials (ages 18 to 28) taking an interest in Agriculture and Farming

Marcus Garvey Technical High School’s hands-on approach to Agriculture is clearly paying off, as the students can see the benefits of eating what they grow on display, to quote Head of the Agriculture Department at the Marcus Garvey Technical High School in St Ann's Bay, Richard Grant: “We're trying to change the mindset of the general society towards Marcus Garvey Technical High School, so yes, we found it important enough to showcase our school to the wider public here today.”

Their Agricultural program allows the students to grow the following crops which allows the school to feed itself independent of external food suppliers:

1.      Hyponically grown vegetables
2.      Chicken and Egg production
3.      Pig rearing
4.      Apiculture and Honey-Production

 The Hydroponics part of their Farming caught my eye as well, as this is clearly an unexploited means of growing Crops that many in Jamaica are still not aware as explained in my blog article entitled “How to Cut Glass Bottles and make your own Rooftop Garden made up of Wick-Based Hydroponic Gardening System - More uses for the Distilled Water from the Fresnel based Solar Desalinator”.

Hydroponics not only is more efficient, but it can turn any space, even a rooftop with a few Glass bottles, into a Garden of Eden producing fast-growing crops of vegetables grow in soil-less medium.

Exposing student to other means of agriculture other than the traditional methods will go a long way to empowering Teenagers (ages 13 to 17) and Millennials (ages 18 to 28). It will make them realize that being involved in Agriculture is a long-term self-sustaining career path that’s a viable income both through local sale of produce and via processing and packaging for sale of VAS (Value Added Products) abroad.

Modernizing Farming with techniques that incorporate aspects of Alternative Energy to reduce energy usage, Data collection, performance tracking of the Plant's progress and the usage of Computers and Analysis software e.g. Microsoft Excel to monitor crops.

This will appeal greatly to the mostly tech-centric younger Farmers of the future as pointed out in my Geezam blog article entitled “Solar Powered Organic Farming – Sustainable Agricultural Development and Jamaica’s Food Security” and will thus enhance the spread of Farming to other High Schools who may be interested in duplicating the School’s Success in Rabbit Rearing.

These Teenagers (ages 13 to 17) and Millennials (ages 18 to 28) whose Demographic the High Schools are trying to empower wish, unlike their current counterparts, to make a serious living from Farming instead of subsisting on crops being grown just for sale at the market. By showing the students the scientific means of tracking the growth progress of their crops and rearing of livestock, it helps to remove the stigma associated with the Farmer not being an intelligent person.

To again quote the Head of the Agriculture Department at the Marcus Garvey Technical High School in St Ann's Bay, Richard Grant: “We're exposing students to non-conventional Farming systems because we want students to know there are other ways and methods of cultivating crops”.

Rather, this method of exposing Students to Modern Farming Practices in a hands-on manner instead associates Farming with a thinking man that tracks metrics relating to the performance of his farm via the modern technological tools and Farming Techniques and methodologies currently and easily available learned from the Internet. 
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