Gardening on their minds??? Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, in discussion with Antonia Smith (right), student of the Grantley Adams School Memorial School, while Ellerton pupils (from left) Ray Nurse, Lenlisa Cave and Romain Lashley look on??today at the Ministry of Education, St. Michael. (G.Brewster/BGIS)

Minister of Youth, Stephen Lashley, has reiterated his call for protective mechanisms to be put in place to guard against praedial larceny.

While addressing today’s launch of the Division of Youth’s Garden Project – A Junior Achievement Approach at the Elsie Payne Complex, Mr. Lashley condemned praedial larceny, noting that even one secondary school involved in agriculture had suffered at the hands of thieves.

Mr. Lashley emphasised the importance of agriculture and said the project would create "a synergy that can make further in-roads into the national quest to revitalise the much needed agriculture industry, while building a cadre of confident, educated, healthy, responsible and entrepreneurial young people".

He said it was time, therefore, to remove the stigma of dirt and hot sun associated with agriculture, and highlight the new technologies and careers within the industry.

The Garden Project was piloted at Gordon Walters Primary school in January 2011 and the Minister said it had reaped good results. "I am very excited that the initial project report showed that 100 per cent of the children said they enjoyed participating in the project and wanted to own their own garden. In addition, 96.3 per cent stated that they now know more about growing healthy food and 93.6 per cent said they now know more about seeds, sowing seedlings and basic plant care and can tell their friends and parents about gardening," he stated.

Underscoring the timeliness of the project, Mr. Lashley continued: "It is coming at a period when we need to introduce entrepreneurship at a very early age, so that it becomes part of the natural thinking process."

The Youth Development Programme will be working with Junior Achievement Barbados, through the USAID Eastern Caribbean Youth Microenterprise Programme, to deliver the entrepreneurial modules in the programme, while the Ministries of Agriculture and Education will also lend support to it.

Those primary schools participating in the Garden Project are: Hindsbury, St. Philip, Vauxhall and Ellerton, while Combermere and Grantley Adams Memorial will represent the secondary schools. The project will begin next week with the teachers being trained and it will end in mid-March, 2012.


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