Some of the young persons participating in the??Youth in Agriculture" Programme.

Approximately 30 participants involved in the "Youth in Agriculture" Programme will develop life-changing skills, when they embark on a three-day retreat at the Hospitality Institute, PomMarine Gardens.

This was disclosed by Advisor in the Office of Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals, Undene Whittaker, who gave the welcome remarks at the opening of the workshop.??

Pointing out the programme was designed to "tackle poverty and ensure that there were skills that the participants could learn," Ms. Whittaker told the members that they could look forward to a number of "exciting topics" such as Self Esteem and Self Confidence; Letter Writing and Form Filling, Crop Husbandry; Substance Abuse; Animal Husbandry and Conflict Resolution and Anger Management.

The Advisor noted that for "too long agriculture was viewed as just field work, and it must be recognised as much more than that."

Also in attendance at the official opening was the Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn, who told the young persons that he was "pleased to see them involved in such a worth-while venture."??

He said he "hoped the programme would serve to inspire them and they must not be discouraged by anything, or anyone, as there was still a stigma attached to agriculture."

"When you start out you must start small. Do not be impatient and let the urge to make "big bucks" be your focus.?? In time you can aspire to own your own farm, be your own boss and grow your own produce", he suggested.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Noting that Government was committed to developing and enhancing these types of programmes that would better assist young people, the Agriculture Minister indicated that "any country that neglects its young people, neglects its future."

"When I started out in agriculture I never envisioned that I would end up the Minister of Agriculture, therefore I want to encourage each and every one of you participants to set goals for yourself. Seek to bring yourself out of the rut. Agriculture will be the sector that will lift this country out and each of you has a role to play," he stated.??

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