Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha recently re-affirmed the Government’s commitment to creating opportunities for youths in agriculture to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the sector.
Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, during a recent engagement with Pomeroon Farmers, reaffirmed Government’s commitment to providing opportunities for youths to actively participate in agriculture while highlighting exciting initiatives for the Essequibo region.
These initiatives include the revitalisation of marine cage culture in Mainstay and Capoey, coffee and cocoa bean cultivation along with cultivation of new high value crops.
The Minister said youths will benefit from projects such as these.
“We are now looking to do the high value crops. Bring in more young people into agriculture. Today, our young people have a stigma towards the agriculture sector. They believe only middle-aged and old people must do agriculture. We have to change that perception. We have to bring in the people that went to school to study. Many times our sons and daughters who went to university and got a degree in agronomy don’t want to do farming. They rather do it in an office.”
The Minister further highlighted that climate change is impacting and changing the way agriculture is done, and youths can bring a new and modern approach to the way things are done.
“And I’m not saying that the present set of people doing agriculture don’t know to do it. We have been doing it and doing it well. But at the same time we must have continuity. We must have; when the older people gone, younger people can replace them. We’re doing agriculture in a different way today.
“We never used to have all this rainfall. Ten years ago you never used to get seven inches of rainfall in a month. Now you get seven inches of rainfall in one night. So we need to change the way we’re doing agriculture.”
Through the Government’s Youth Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship programme, shade houses have been constructed for youths, investments made in hydroponics and vertical agriculture for the production of high-valued crops such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrot.