Jelani among top farming youth
Thirty-six participants of the Youth Farm Programme by the Inter-American Institute For Cooperation On Agriculture (IICA) today showcased at the Princess Margaret Secondary School the knowledge they had acquired in the last eight weeks.
The programme created in collaboration with the Technical And Vocational Educational Training (TVET) Council, with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education, aims to encourage students “to really see agriculture as a career and to know that they can make money and have a sustainable career option”, said IICA Barbados representative and Caribbean management coordinator Ena Harvey.
Piloted in 2012, the programme has expanded from three secondary schools to 13, with two students from Antigua participating as well.
The students who participate in the programme “love agriculture . . . [they] want to do it”, explained Harvey.
From inception until now, the programme has catered to “over 100 [students] who want a career in agriculture”, she revealed.
“They are really keen,” said the IICA Barbados representative, adding: “Some guys say, ‘Ma’am, all I want is a piece of land, you know. If I get an award, you can give me an animal’.”
One of those enthusiastic and passionate participants was 15-year-old “businessman” and Lodge School student Jelani Hunte. Jelani told Barbados TODAY that his farming business was started six years ago when he was gifted with two sheep for his birthday.
From the early age of five years, he was heavily influenced by his grandmother.
“I was raised with my grandmother . . . . [She] couldn’t leave me in the house by myself; so I was bored out of my mind. So I just started pulling weeds with her; harvesting,” said Jelani.
Recommended to the IICA Youth Farm Programme by one of his teachers, he took up the offer stating: “Why not learn more about agriculture, if this is going to be my life?”
Proving to be widely knowledgeable in crop production and livestock production, Jelani noted that “people [in
agriculture] would like to see you get further, so people encourage me to continue and keep on the right track”.
The young entrepreneur added that in the future he would like to be a manager at a large-scale farm “and still have my farm on the side”.