Agriculture Minister: State support necessary in attracting youth into agriculture
As a major purchaser of food, the State must be willing to provide support to our local farmers through the provision of sustainable market opportunities if the agricultural sector is to grow and attract the interests of our young farmers. Such was the message of the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat as he delivered remarks at a Meeting of the Members of the Advisory Committee for Youth Development and Apprenticeship Centres and Non-Residential Youth Development Centres, held at his Ministry’s Chaguanas Head Office on Monday 25th October, 2021.
In his delivery the Minister identified several initiatives currently being undertaken by the State, which he noted was directly linked to encouraging the agricultural involvement of young people, whom he said had been disadvantaged in accessing many opportunities through the various incentives.
According to the Minister, while there are a number of youths involved in agriculture by virtue of them being active members of existing farming families, there are significant challenges in converting young persons with formal training and no history of agriculture, into the sector. Such a feat, he added, could only be achieved through the provision of technical support and training, specialised sector funding (namely the Youth ‘Fast Track’ Agricultural Finance Support Programme), as well as opportunities for the optimisation of strategic collaborations amongst the State’s major food consumers, namely the Regional Health Authorities, as well as the Ministry of Education’s School Feeding Programme. There is a need for agriculture to be perceived as being essential to the well-being of the country as opposed to being a manually intensive, high risk and low reward activity, Minister Rambharat said.
In his advice to the Members of the Advisory Committee for Youth Development and Apprenticeship Centres and Non-Residential Youth Development Centres, Minister Rambharat advocated for the inclusion of existing State resources in their final report, as this will make their recommendations cost effective and more practically conceivable.
Today’s meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Youth Development and National Service MYDNS) and included the Minister of Youth Development and National Service, the Honourable Foster Cummings and the Minister of Education, Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.
Also in attendance were the: Permanent Secretary (Ag.) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Ms. Susan Shurland; Permanent Secretary (Ag.) in the Ministry of Youth Development and National Service, Mr. Farook Hosein and; Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Youth Development and Apprenticeship Centres and Non-Residential Youth Development Centres, Mr. Anthony Garcia.