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A call is going out for more youth to get involved in agriculture.

It comes from Deputy Chief Agriculture Officer, in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development, Charleston Lucas, who stressed that the local sector needed the input of more young persons if it was to move forward and become sustainable.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of Phase Four of the Youth in Agriculture Programme at the Parkinson Community Centre, St. Michael today, he stated that worldwide the average age of farmers was 50 and if there was no one to take over the mantle when such persons retired, then the sector faced an uncertain future.

Mr. Lucas, who was speaking on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development, Dr. David Estwick, also encouraged young Barbadians to see agriculture as a business and a noble profession.

"The Ministry is always looking to have more young people involved in agriculture. The youth need to grasp the importance of the sector and its value to the country as a whole…Even though tourism has overtaken agriculture as the main foreign exchange earner, this does not diminish the importance of the sector to the nation," Mr. Lucas maintained.

Advisor in Government’s Office on Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals, Undene Whittaker, said feedback from Phase Three of the programme was very encouraging, with farm managers giving good reports on the work of the interns.

She also encouraged the participants to be role models for other young Barbadians who might wish to join the programme.

According to Ms. Whittaker, Phase Four of the project will see participants vying for the Christopher Beckles Award – named after a former participant of the programme who passed away last year.

Persons will be judged on a number of criteria including punctuality, attendance, completion of assignments and the programme, leadership skills and discipline. (AS/BGIS)

askeete@barbados.gov.bb

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