Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Michael King (left), greets a supporter of the film screening, while Acting Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn (second from left) and attorney-at-law and actor Andrew Pilgrim look on. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

If Barbados and other countries in the region are to successfully encourage young people to explore the agriculture industry, it is important to highlight all its facets.

This view was expressed by Acting Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn, as he addressed those gathered for the screening of films from the 2011 Caribbean Science and Agriculture Film and Video Competition, at George Washington House last evening.?? The event was part of the 3rd Annual CaribbeanTales Film Festival being held here until April 15.

Senator Benn explained that it was crucial for persons to be exposed to the good and the bad about the industry.?? He expressed the hope that "…the young ones who are involved in these agricultural projects will film the success stories in agriculture…We hear a lot about the problems…[But] if we want to encourage them [young people] to continue in agriculture, we have got to tell them about the successes…

We’ve got to tell them [about] the farmers who drive their old pickups Monday through Saturday [and] wear their torn clothes and old boots; but then, on Sundays, they get into their better vehicles…they have purchased from their hard-earned dollars," the Minister remarked.

Also echoing these sentiments was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Michael King, who observed that the region, with its "scandalously high food import bill", needed projects like these to open people’s minds to the industry’s potential.

"… A lot of our agriculture is backyard gardening or family farming; and with these films, you will see the possibilities for developing our economies at a time when the economies of our region and around the world are, indeed, struggling to be successful.?? Filmmaking is not only an art for entertainment, but it is also a tool for educating people," Mr. King said.

He also emphasised that it was important "…for us to recognise the role that arts will play in connecting culture with our industrial heritage…The science of agriculture needs to be promoted more.?? I am very happy to see that the young people of the Caribbean, supported by the academic leadership in the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Barbados Community College and other technical colleges in the Caribbean are making an effort to develop careers in agriculture," he noted.

This year’s Festival will feature the work of filmmakers from Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, French Guiana, the United States and the United Kingdom.


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