Some 60 new farmers on Government’s Land for the Landless programme will receive critical training in Farm Management among other vital areas, this Wednesday, July 30, during an orientation seminar at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The seminar, organised by the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC) in collaboration with the Ministry, gets under way at 9:30 a.m. at the Ministry’s Graeme Hall, Christ Church headquarters.
According to BADMC’s Manager of Agricultural Management Services, Ronnie Braithwaite, the orientation is part of an ongoing training exercise.
“Before we place farmers on public land, we generally like to make sure that they at least have some basic training. This is just an introduction of the training programme which we would like to implement throughout their time on the programme,” he explained.
During the one-day seminar, the farmers are expected to glean information in practical areas as well as participate in discussion sessions. BADMC’s Chief Extension Officer, Euklyn Worrell, will make a presentation on ‘Farm Management as a Way to Increase Profit’, while Marketing Manager, Troy Holder will speak on ‘Marketing of Agricultural Produce’.
In terms of the regulations surrounding the programme, farmers will have the opportunity to engage Agricultural Officer, Colin Maynard, when he facilitates a discussion session on ‘Regulations and Agreements for the Land Lease Project’.
The farmers, according to Mr. Braithwaite, include a few who had been approved for lands last year, as well as those approved by the BADMC’s Board between January and May of this year.
“Some of the farmers had been approved for lands last year but due to the absence of certain utilities and amenities on the project they were unable to start. So some have actually been placed already, and we are preparing to place others even though they haven’t been through the orientation as yet, since we would not want to stand in their way.”
Mr. Braithwaite underlined that the group also includes some experienced farmers who would have already had the infrastructure in place as well as their markets, but just needed lands from which to expand their operations. In this regard, he added, the seminar would provide a useful opportunity to improve on their knowledge.
In terms of land usage, the BADMC Manager said the farmers on the programme would primarily be involved in vegetable and livestock production, with a few focusing on specialty areas, including horticulture, rabbit rearing and organic vegetable production. They will be placed at the various project sites across the island namely: River Plantation, St. Philip; the Pine Basin, St. Michael; Greenland and Haggatts, St. Andrew and Spring Hall, St. Lucy.
Chief Executive Officer of the BADMC, Andrew Skeete, will deliver the welcome address, and Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn, the feature address, during the seminar’s opening ceremony.