Agricultural youth project gets funding
Students across Barbados will benefit from a US$150,000 Agripreneurship project, thanks to a partnership between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth’s Youth Development Programme (YDP) and the Junior Achievement (JA) Charity of Barbados.
Aimed at implementing innovative agricultural projects for youth in schools and communities, the JA Charity of Barbados today launched its Regional Entrepreneurship And Agriculture Programme (REAP-Barbados) and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the ministry, its implementing partner.
In lauding the partnership, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley said it was important that we connected with our young people in particular and enticed them to look at our $700 million food import bill, as we need to find innovative ways to help reduce it. He told those gathered that by growing more local foods, the issue of food security would be addressed, especially in the context of the Caribbean, as it would also generate employment activities.
“I believe that involving our young people in agriculture is a viable way of [achieving this] . . . . Of course, we have very important connectivity’s and modes of connection between agriculture and tourism and other areas of manufacturing.
“The second critical objective in this initiative is in the area of public/private sector collaboration, where we come together to deliver to our young people a very important developmental programme. This is necessary because we need to build synergies, not only in relation to the allocation of critical resources to the areas of interest for our young people, but it is extremely vital for civil society to join with the Government in embarking on these very important initiatives . . . ,” the minister stressed.
In addition, National Coordinator of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Small Grants Programme (SGP), David Bynoe, said it was important that agriculture be featured prominently as a tool to educate children, especially the science of that sector.
He further explained that the project started at one school, expanded nationally with GEF SGP’s support; and has the potential for regional replication through the OECS.
Funding for REAP-Barbados is provided by the GEF SGP of the United Nations Development Programme.