Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton today encouraged graduates from the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) to use their newly gained knowledge to become their own bosses.
The minister was at the time delivering remarks at the Agro-Processing training programme’s closing ceremony at GSA, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara. The four-day programme saw 27 students from Regions Three, Four, Five, Six, Eight and Ten graduate with knowledge in food quality labelling, packaging and preservation. It was a collaborative effort between GSA and the Ministry of Presidency’s Office of Youth Empowerment.
Minister Norton told the youths, “these programmes and the many others like it are extended with aim of empowering and equipping you to be your own boss. You have to be business owners, employers. Don’t let anybody be your boss.”
He added that youth participation in the agriculture sector will aid in Guyana becoming again the breadbasket of the Caribbean.
He alluded to the fact that technology has diversified the agricultural sector making activities such as farming and planting easier. With this in mind, the agriculture sector has many options for youths.
Senior Economic Empowerment Officer, Samuel Saul said the programme aims to teach the participants the economic use of fruits and vegetables in the agriculture industry. “Coupled with fact that our country has the capacity and capability in agriculture, it was against this background that we felt some of these wastages could be curtailed through the use of agro-processing.”
According to Saul, this initiative stemmed from a visit to the Pomeroon in 2015. To date, 77 youths from the ten administrative regions have benefited from similar programmes.
Acting CEO of GSA, Dr. Dexter Allen, said three years ago the Office of Empowerment reached out to the GSA to determine what programmes could be offered that would interest youths. GSA offers programmes in Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Animal Health and Veterinary Public Health and the newly added Agro-processing programme.
Dr. Allen said, “we have been given the mandate to take on this effort to assist government and the rural communities in being able to take a lot of the primary agricultural produce that are in abundance and attempt to do further processing to add value to them.”
Ranetta La Fleur
Images: Jameel Mohamed