A call for more youth participation in horticulture - by Barbados Today January 27, 2018
January 27, 2018
Even though horticulture sector continues to thrive with Barbados attaining numerous wins at the Chelsea Flower Exhibition, there is a lack of youth participation.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agriculture Society James Paul and President of the Barbados Horticulture Society, Jennifer Weetch are calling for more youth participation.
“We have been hearing the constant saying that young people are not involved in agriculture . . . which is not true. If you present people agriculture or horticulture . . . in a way that is relevant to them, I believe they would be involved,” Paul said Saturday at the Barbados Horticulture Society annual flower and garden show.
The BAS CEO expressed that he would like to see more participation from schools in not only the growing and farming of crops and animals but also of flowers.
Paul called on Government and the private sector to further invest in the future of the sector that he said has contributed to Barbados’ tourist product.
“We have to invest in our people and I am sure that if we were to agree on a constant stream of investment going to those people, after a while they would get it right because we have faith in our people that they would get it right eventually. The whole problem is that we have to make an investment in our people,” he said.
Paul implored Barbadians to see horticulture much like agriculture, as a business opportunity that is capable of creating economic activity.
“You can use the environment around you which is your home to produce a reasonable income for your family or
supplement your family’s income,” he said.
“You can engage in activities [where] someone doesn’t have to give you a job, you can actually create it,” he added.
BHS President Jennifer Weetch, while agreeing that the Society needed to do more to reach out to the younger demographic, revealed that there had been a decrease in the number of plants on showcase.
While suggesting that the financial constraints may have contributed to the decline, Weetch added that she expects persons to continue to use their green thumb regardless.
“I think a lot of people are still very interested in beautifying around their house and I hope that will continue,” she said.