Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn, presenting the Most Outstanding Award to members of the Holder’s Hill community Club, (from left to right), Shanese Phoenix, Dwayne Phoenix and Akeesha Scott.

Government is prepared to contribute $300,000 to the 4-H movement if 50 clubs are established by July this year.

This pledge was given last Saturday, by Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn. He was delivering the feature address at the Barbados 4-H Foundation’s Prize Giving and Awards Ceremony at the Sir Hugh Springer Auditorium, Solidarity House.

Mr. Benn noted that Government was cognisant of the contribution the body was making to the country’s agricultural sector and had provided $100,000 in funding in 2008, with $200,000 being allocated this year to enable the movement to continue its programmes.

He reminded 4-H’ers that this country would be affected by the economic meltdown that was being experienced world-wide and therefore needed to be self-sufficient in agriculture and to “cut back on its food import bill”. Mr. Benn therefore urged 4-H’ers to play their part in leading the way towards getting Barbadians more involved in food production.

The Senator stated that his ministry was in the forefront of promoting agriculture among young people by organising training programmes in various aspects of farming, including marketing, distribution and the teaching of new technology, such as hydroponics and the use of greenhouse technology.

Some of the other initiatives outlined by Minister Benn were training workshops in fire prevention, emergency disaster preparedness, environmental health, first aid, dental hygiene, and physical education. He also mentioned the possibility of a Seedling Production Unit, in the Pine where “top quality seedlings for retail to the farming community” would be provided.

“This project should prove to be a great benefit to 4-H’ers, since it would serve to instill in them the fundamentals of gardening, soil preparation, selecting fertilisers, insect and disease control, among other training,” he explained.

The Senator further revealed that the Foundation had plans to establish a catering and training centre at the 4-H Headquarters, in Crumpton Street, by June this year. He added that the facility would serve to educate 4-H’ers in the culinary arts, as a means of providing part-time and full-time employment for members, as well as a source of revenue for the organisation.

Over 25 trophies and prizes were presented at the ceremony, with the Holders Hill Community Club being adjudged the Most Outstanding. Other winners included Dwayne Phoenix, who was chosen as the 4-H Boy, and Shanese Phoenix as the 4-H Girl.

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