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High praise for Youth in Agriculture programme

The three-year-old Youth in Agriculture Farm programme, which has turned out a crop of 113 secondary school students to date, is being hailed as a model that should be “widely adopted” to complement the education and training system.

This call came from deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour Yolande Howard, as she appealed for more efforts to be made to ensure food security and improvement of the island’s agriculture sector.

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) led programme, which started with three schools in 2012 as a pilot project, and has seen an increase in the number of participants and partnerships over the years.

The eight-week intensive summer training course aims to develop knowledge among participants in sustainable farming methods and demonstrate the income potential of agriculture.

Addressing the graduation ceremony at the St Leonard’s Boys School yesterday, Howard said the challenge now was to ensure that the individuals were encouraged to continue their career development in the agriculture sector.


Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Yolande Howard.

She also urged the private sector to continue to assist in the growth of the industry by helping policymakers identify the required skills and competencies, as well as provide internships and job placements.

“And if we wish to seriously make a dent into the reduction of our food import bill and enhance our agri-related exports then we need to have persons who are trained, skilled and competent in our agriculture and food industry,” said Howard, adding that there was still a need for a change in mind set among individuals to see agriculture as a valuable sector.

Highlighting the importance of agriculture and food security toward the development of the country, Howard pointed out the necessity of continuous education, training and development of workers in the sector, especially given the advancements in related technologies and the need for more specialised skilled sets.


Participants of the Youth in Agriculture Farm programme.

In addition to gaining a Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ), ten of the participants were given special awards.

IICA representative for Barbados Ena Harvey, in congratulating the students, said the programme was contributing to the food security of Barbados and the region.

“Students who have graduated from our programme have found employment with some of the private sector companies who have partnered with us to give the students practical skills and work experience in producing organic crops, [and animal raring],” Harvey said.

The farm programme was initially designed for 25 students, however this year it welcomed 36 pupils from 13 local secondary schools, as well as participants from the Ann Hill School and two students from the Ottos Comprehensive School in Antigua and Barbuda.


8 Responses to High praise for Youth in Agriculture programme

  1. Chaela Patricia
    Chaela Patricia October 31, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Come on ppl, praise these children, they r doing something positive, dont only open wonna mouth when them doing negative, smh

  2. Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
    Cherylann Bourne-Hayes October 31, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Great, get them involved in something good.

  3. Maria Leclair
    Maria Leclair October 31, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    It’s great teaching however BIM will run out of farmland. Perhaps they can have their own little garden at home.

  4. seagul October 31, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    The integrity of agriculture should be highlighted much more. Full respect to these children.Agriculture is a science of utmost importance.

  5. Winnie Meade
    Winnie Meade October 31, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    That very nice but I would Locke to see some MP children doing this can anyone see that

  6. Chris Wright November 7, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Give a kids a meal you feed them for a day. Teach a kids how to grow food, you feed them for a lifetime.

  7. Chris Wright November 7, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    Give kids a meal you feed them for a day, teach kids how to grow food you feed them for a lifetime.

  8. Andrew Rudder November 9, 2015 at 10:30 am

    The youth who participated with this agriculture program are now informed on food and animal production process. An other area of special interest is fertilizer production from compost and organic materials such as coconut husks and seaweed.


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