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GIS – The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, Hon. Ezechiel Joseph, has highlighted the need for young people to get more involved in the agriculture sector.
Referencing the Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship Program, Minister Joseph commented that for the sector to thrive, the youth need to play a part in its future.
“There are a number of crops that we can grow if we provide support to our farmers, and if we provide the infrastructure to support them like marketing and technical advice,” he said. “We can do it and for us to be able to accomplish this we need people that we can train. That is where the youth play an important role.”
The Minister said the Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship Program started with an aim to make use of dormant, but prime agricultural land.
“The project started with government lands. I identified four or five areas that were ideal for agriculture. Phase 2 of the project would have been private lands where you have farmers who have reached an age where they no longer wish to be cultivating and their children are not interested in agriculture.
Instead of looking at sectors outside of agriculture the intention was to lease these lands from these individuals and lease it to persons inside the respective communities that are interested in agriculture. It is something that we are going to continue because we have to and I want to emphasize that we have to. We need to bring new blood into agriculture and it is a program that I would continue.”
Minister Joseph said the next step is to meet with the youth to discuss and address the challenges that they face.