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The Jamaica Dairy Development Board (JDDB) has donated a mobile milking machine to the Sydney Pagon Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy in St Elizabeth.
The equipment was handed over during a ceremony at the school last Wednesday. It is the first such device to be given to an institution on the island, and is expected to assist in reducing the risks associated with milking cows by hand.
The JDDB is the regulatory body for the dairy sector and operates under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Minister of State in in the agriculture ministry, Frank Witter, who addressed the ceremony, highlighted that the milk machine will also enable quicker extraction of milk, increase capacity for milking more cows and improve the safety and quality of the milk extracted.
The minister said that “this initiative by the JDDB to assist with the provision of a mobile milking machine is part of a greater thrust to make an impactful contribution to youth in agriculture, specifically through the targeting of agricultural institutions like Sydney Pagon,” he said.
“The selection of this institution as a recipient of the mobile milking machine was informed by a very meticulous evaluation of the different schools and the different communities in Jamaica. Coming out of this evaluation, it was proven that, given the impact and the challenges and the potential for growth, we…identified this institution as the one to get this first allocation,” Witter stated.
He noted that the agricultural school boasts some 150 acres of land for development, a newly renovated milking parlour, large holding area with concretised floors and a milk room, among several other amenities.
The minister highlighted that the donation marked a significant step in the right direction and “if we proceed toward the future in a similar manner, then achieving food security will be within our reach.”
Witter said that he was pleased that the JDDB was “moving forward with renewed strength and strategy to revitalise the dairy industry.” He commended the board for “acknowledging the need for youth involvement in agriculture, especially within the dairy industry. “You have identified a need and have made the necessary steps to assist and invest in their growth.”
Dr Derrick Deslandes, chairman of the JDDB, said that the donation is the first of many, and underscored the JDDB’s thrust to improve the dairy sector on the island.
Sydney Pagon STEM Academy (formerly called the Sydney Pagon Agricultural High School) is the first school on the island to be designated a STEM institution.
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