Thirty candidates, aged 14 to 18, from 12 of Barbados’ secondary schools are increasing their technical skills in agriculture and livestock rearing and learning how to use low-cost agro-technologies to earn an income on leaving school.
They are participating in an eight-week intensive Youth Farm Summer training programme administered by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) that began on July 2 and ends on August 31, 2018.
These young agri-preneurs are working towards certification accessible through the Barbados TVET Council for the CVQ in Crop Production Level I, NVQ in Livestock rearing Level I and CVQ in Aquaculture Grow Out Operations Level 1. There are ten candidates enrolled in each technical area. This is the sixth installation of the programme which began in 2012 and has so far certified 128 students, eight of whom have gained employment in the agri-food sector.
During their skills training workshops, students will be taught the correct techniques for performing practical farming skills in crop planning, greenhouse propagation, organic farming methods, post-harvest management, agribusiness planning, record keeping and integrated pest management.
For the livestock rearing and aquaculture electives, the focus will be on nutrition, daily care, and observation.
Physical farm work is a core component of the programme and participants are actively involved in activities, such as land preparation, cleaning and feeding animals, and building aquaponic systems.
The IICA Youth Farm Summer Programme 2018 will be based at the Home Agricultural Station in St Philip, the Greenland Research Livestock Station in St Andrew and at the St George Secondary and Springer Memorial schools. (PR)