September 19, 2023

Agriculture sector gets $1.33 billion to encourage young people


Farmers tend to their crops in Aranguez. File Photo/Roger Jacob

The agricultural sector was allocated $1.330 billion in the budget, which is $81 million more than last year.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert made the announcement during his presentation to Parliament on Monday.

Agriculture received $1.249 billion in 2021, up $51 million from the $1.198 billion allocated the previous year.

Imbert said a key part of the government’s new strategy is to encourage young people to return to farming.

Imbert said the newly created Youth Agricultural Homestead program is developing part-time modules for agricultural programs in conjunction with the Metal Industries Company (MIC) Institute of Technology.

They cater to participants aged 18 to 35 and offer retraining for people aged 36 to 50, he added.

These programs will be available at Fyzabad Field Road, Chatham Dairy Farm and Kendall Dairy Farm in Palo Seco. They are also set for Valencia, Gran Couva. Pointe-à-Pierre, Todds Road, Lopinot and Santa Cruz.

Imberty said the program targets young people who will have access to land and the financial and technical support needed to become successful entrepreneurs.

He also referred to the Youth Shade Shade Project, administered by UWI and Guyana’s Agricultural Research and Extension Unit.

He said it is a one-year program focused on specialized practical training.

“It is intensive farming on small portions of land with very high yields. The program encourages young people between the ages of 16 and 35 to participate in the 12-month training period for which 100 participants will be selected.”

The project, Imbert said, was anchored on a memorandum of understanding signed by the prime minister in May to cooperate with other Caribbean countries to ensure food security in the region.