Programmes To Assist Youth In Agriculture

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The Ministry of Agriculture will soon be introducing a Sustainable Agricultural Demonstration and Training Centre at the Ministry???s headquarters at Graeme Hall, Christ Church.

This was revealed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Esworth Reid.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (FAO/FIDA) Caribe Youth Programme, at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa on Monday.

Mr. Reid said that the training Centre will be created to further promote and highlight how agriculture could be a viable career, especially for young people. He hoped that the centre would show how a link could be formed between agriculture and other sectors, such as tourism and manufacturing, while highlighting good organic practices and incorporating the use of renewable energy and health and wellness projects in agriculture.

???We hope to encourage those interested in becoming involved in agriculture to recognise the importance and benefits that can be gained from engaging in the various links of the value-added chain, and to recognise the potential linkages that agriculture has with other sectors, such as tourism.

“This is as we seek to develop agriculture as a robust and sustainable foreign exchange earning sector, driven by modern enterprise, while remaining cognisant of the fact that the main activity of primary agricultural production takes place in the rural sectors,??? he emphasised.

Meanwhile, FAO Coordinator for the Caribbean, Dr. Deep Ford, believed the youth of the Caribbean were facing a number of challenges, including the transition from school to work; unemployment among young people; and shying away from the agricultural sector.

???Agriculture is one of the main drivers in many of our Caribbean economies and where many entry level jobs should be. The negative image of agriculture is held by the society as a whole and unfortunately worse by rural residents, their parents. Thus, youth are encouraged to turn their backs on the sector that the leaders of the land ??? the Heads of Government ??? say is one of the principal drivers of renewed growth and development in the region???.

Dr. Ford stated that they were cases where some young people wanted to get involved in agriculture but were unable to access the land and resources required to enter the field. He added that some of them have also complained about the lack of support from stakeholders and lack of training in entrepreneurship and project development, among other things.

He also revealed that the FAO and FIDA had joined together to tackle youth unemployment in the Caribbean through a US$2.7 million programme entitled: Strengthening decent rural employment opportunities for young women and men in the Caribbean.??The programme will seek to identify opportunities for young people in the Caribbean who are from rural areas in fields such as processing and marketing, agro-tourism and food production.

aisha.reid@barbados.gov.bb

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