Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 21, 2021 (SKNIS): Minister with responsibility for Agriculture, the Honourable Alexis Jeffers, says his ministry is committed to youth development within the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis by offering opportunities through agriculture.
During his presentation at the handing over ceremony of the hydroponics shade house to the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) on May 20, Minister Jeffers said, “we have committed the full force of the Ministry behind supporting the youth involvement in agriculture and future thinking methods of crop production such as hydroponics.”
“The Ministry has also partnered with CFBC on a number of projects including a work experience programme, which allowed students to work alongside professionals in the field of agriculture,” he added.
The honourable minister also said that the Ministry is on a mission to change the stigma that many young people associate with agriculture.
“We are well aware that many of our young men and women are into technology and appreciate getting things done in a more efficient manner, that is why we do believe this technology is important to propel our agricultural sector forward,” he said.
“I will say though fortunately, that agriculture is moving into the future and there is space for young men and young women to apply technology in this field,” the minister added.
The minister also said that the risk associated with open field production is significantly reduced as well thanks to the ability to control the growing environment of crops.
“Most importantly, I would say, is that financial institutions would be more willing to fund businesses in the agricultural sector thanks to the reduced risk inherent with open field production,” said the agriculture minister.
“There are numerous examples throughout the Federation where persons would have approached financial institutions and would have gotten loans and I would dare say have repaid those loans as well and are seeking more,” he added.
The minister said that this, therefore, meant that the financial institutions within the Federation are also on board, explaining that this ultimately means that there is no hindrance or deterrence to youth involvement.
“It must be noted that students here at CFBC enrolled in the agriculture science programme will now have a very practical and hands-on experience in this new method of crop production as this venture can be used as a catalyst to drive interest in agriculture thus increasing the enrolment at CFBC and also going on to the university level and eventually coming back to make a meaningful contribution to the development of agriculture right here in our beloved country.”
“We must acknowledge and appreciate that the possibility to build the capacity of our human resources has been enhanced tremendously with this investment,” said the Honourable Alexis Jeffers.
The handing over ceremony of the hydroponic shade house included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a demonstration planting by ministers and the president of the CFBC with guidance by the agricultural studies students.