The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs (MAFBA) held a sending off ceremony at the Environmental Division for the six (6) students and three (3) teachers chosen to attend the IICA Youth Farm Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) Program in Barbados.
Seven (7) of the candidates will participate in the Crops CVQ Program while two (2) will be enrolled in the Livestock Program. This is the third set of candidates from Antigua and Barbuda to participate in the Youth Farm program.
The Youth Farm Summer Programme is an eight-week intensive training plan in crop and livestock farming, and land-based fisheries. The focus is on diversified vegetables, meat and fish for local markets.
The programme is collaboratively offered by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training in Barbados and the Barbados Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council.
IICA National Specialist, Craig Thomas addressed the students, their parents and the teachers and encouraged them to make the absolute best of the opportunity which they have been given to enhance their knowledge and skills in the Agriculture Sector. Thomas expressed his gratitude to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Hon. Samantha Marshall for supporting the program and aiding in getting the necessary funding to send the students to Barbados.
2017 Awardee of the Youth Farm CVQ Program, Shem Wilson gave the students an insight of his experience when he traveled to Barbados for the program. He stated he had went with an open mind and through the program not only did he greatly increase his knowledge on agriculture but also he made lifelong friends. He encouraged them to go with an open mind, as this is now a major step in their development as young men in the agriculture sector.
Assistant Director TVET, Mrs. Marion Byron, says that she is indeed delighted for the opportunity the students have been given and urged them to soak up as much information as they can, as they will be expected to share that knowledge with other peers and even students and hopefully motivate more young persons to get into agriculture.
Also in attendance at the ceremony via zoom was IICA representative in Barbados, Allister Glean who educated the students on the value of the qualification that they will be receiving which would allow them to become more exposed to a number of significant professional opportunities not just in Antigua and Barbuda but across the Caribbean.
He also congratulated the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for their support in the initiative and that he is delighted to see teachers will be joining them and they too will benefit from the experience.
Hon. Samantha Marshall expressed that if the country is to be serious about agriculture there has to be a far greater youth involvement, which is one of the reasons why she ensured that funding would be available to enable students to travel.
Minister Marshall referred to the delegation that they are now ambassadors for Antigua and Barbuda, “you are going to represent your family, your country and yourselves and how you conduct your affairs away will speak volume.”
She also pledged that with the help of Chief Extension Officer (Ag.), Owolabi Elabanjo and Extension Officer (Ag.) Ika Fergus, a youth farm will be implemented in Antigua and the security of the student’s future in agriculture will be secured as they will work along with the Extension Division and expand their skills.
Students’ names with school:
1.Lemuel Christian – Sir Novel Richards Academy
- Zab Gore – Clare Hall Secondary School
- Jaheim James – Glanvilles Secondary School
- Teledo Nelson – St. Mary’s Secondary School
- Deshawn Martin – Ottos Comprehensive School
- Sean Webber – Sir McChesney George Secondary School
Teachers (Agriculture Science Department)
- Denise Hodge – Glanvilles Secondary School
- Adolfo Pena – Glanvilles Secondary School
- Gale Emmanuel- Princess Margaret School