Many societies around the world are faced with the challenge of attracting more youth towards getting involved in agriculture.
In an effort to convince youth in St. Vincent and the Grenadines about the importance and benefits of involvement in agriculture, the Youth Affairs Division in the Ministry of National Mobilization is presently conducting a pilot project titled ‘Youth in Agriculture’, with 15 youths in the community of Overland, inclusive of 8 males and 7 females aged 15-29.
A needs assessment for the project was carried out in January of this year, and on February 10, the Overland Progressive Youth Group was formed.
Members of the group are currently involved in the farming and harvesting of a range of produce inclusive of broad-leaf thyme, hot peppers, sweet peppers and chives.
Farming is being done on lands at the Tourama Government School.
Antoinette Duncan, Assistant Youth Officer at the Youth Department within the Ministry of National Mobilization who has oversight for the programme, told WEFM News that the aim is to help youths choose agriculture as a viable career option.
Ms. Duncan said the group has an arrangement with Vincy Fresh which purchases the produce that has been harvested.
She noted that thus far, they have harvested and sold 29 sacks of broad-leaf thyme and 122 pounds of hot peppers.
President of the Overland Progressive Youth Group, Sophia Byron, said she has benefitted tremendously since having being involved in the Youth in Agriculture Programme.
Byron said that prior to joining the group she had no knowledge about farming, however she has since learnt quite a lot and is excited to be involved in the programme.
Meanwhile, Treasurer of the group, Alex Phillips, said he is appreciative of the Agriculture Field Officers who have been conducting training sessions with them.
Phillips explained that involvement in the Youth in Agriculture Programme has been beneficial for himself and the other participants since it provides an avenue for them to positively channel their time and energies.
He further noted that involvement in this programme sets them on a path for a successful career of their own in agriculture.
The overall objective of the Youth in Agriculture to stir youth interest in agriculture is already being seen, with the former of President of the Overland Progressive Youth Group, Zevon Seymour having travelled to Taiwan in August, this year, to pursue studies in Agriculture Science.