Agrofest has led to an increased number of young persons becoming involved in agriculture.

This view was expressed by Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Andrew Gittens, as he addressed the launch of Agrofest 2016, last Wednesday at Pure Oceans Restaurant.

The event will take place from February 26 to 28 in Queen???s Park.??

Mr. Gittens stressed the importance of young people becoming involved in the agriculture sector, which he believed was key to Barbados??? efforts at stimulating economic growth.

???The organisers must be congratulated on the focus placed over the years on ensuring that our school children are afforded the opportunity to visit and participate in a meaningful way in the showcase. The increasing number of young persons getting involved in agriculture can be attributed to a large extent to their exposure to Agrofest,??? he stated.

The Acting Permanent Secretary said that the Ministry was also working on a number of programmes to get the youth involved in the sector, including the Ministry???s Youth Agri-Preneurship Incubator Programme.

He revealed that the Ministry was also working on establishing a sustainable agriculture demonstration and training farm at its headquarters at Graeme Hall, Christ Church.

???The Ministry is seeking to sensitise participants that the agricultural sector has the potential to provide several employment opportunities in varying fields, such as food production, marketing, processing, catering and veterinary services.

???In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture has partnered with other interest groups, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization and the 4H Foundation, to develop programmes to demonstrate the importance of agriculture in providing for families and the Barbados economy,??? he explained.

Mr. Gittens lauded the work of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS) and the agencies involved in Agrofest over the past 11 years. He said that this year???s theme: Grow, Sell, Eat, Repeat, was timely as it focused on increasing food production and eating more of what we grow.

???Indeed, Agrofest, which is visited by well over 50,000 patrons, provides an excellent opportunity to promote the need for us as a people to grow more of what we eat and eat more of what we grow,??? he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the BAS, James Paul, said that Barbadians and visitors could look forward to what he believed would be ???the best Agrofest yet???. He urged persons in the hospitality sector to encourage their guests to visit the agricultural exhibition.

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