After four days of interactive training in fish farming and aquaponics at Adam’s Aquafarm, 20 young people between the ages of 18 and 34 are now fully equipped to work within this developing field.

This is just one segment of the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Labour’s Agri-preneurship Incubator Programme which falls under the latter’s Human Resource Development Scheme.

Students also met with Minister of Labour, Human Resources and Social Social Security, Senator Dr. Esther Byer and took her on a guided tour throughout the farm, explaining all they had learnt.

Minister Byer was very impressed with the knowledge and skills that the students displayed, especially after only four days of training. The Human Resource Development Minister stated: “Too often you hear that our young people are not interested in agriculture, but from what I’ve seen here, they are very excited about what they are doing.

“Some of them have even done other agricultural programmes which have been offered. So they are telling us, that they are interested in agriculture but we just have to show them new ways of doing it.”

The Minister also encouraged more employers to come onboard as part of the programme because “too often employers complain that when persons leave school and come into the workplace, they have the paper qualifications but they don’t know their way around.”

“What addresses this issue is for people in the industry to join a programme such as this and [tell students] now that you know what is done in the classroom come let me show you what is actually done in the workplace. Then students can be more prepared when looking for a job and also learn skills to become entrepreneurs as well,” Senator Byer reinforced.

One of the Minister’s tour guides was 18-year-old, Ishara Williams who was very interested in learning as much about agriculture and the Aquafarm as possible. She especially loved the hands-on aspect of the programme.

“What I most enjoyed was the handling and the feeding of the crayfish. In terms of practical experience, we also learned about the filtration system of the tilapia … We fed the fish and we cleaned out the filtration system… We also learned that not all of us are made out for it but I can say that we all enjoyed it,” Ishara recalled.

The Agri-preneurship Incubator programme is hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, in association with the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, as part of its Human Resource Development Strategy.

Sponsored by the European Union, it is intended to provide opportunities for youth aged 16 to 35 to see agriculture as a sustainable and viable means of employment. Selected participants are introduced to business principles, scientific techniques, and innovative technologies to solve complex problems in agriculture while seizing commercially viable opportunities.

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