Opportunities for young people in agriculture

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Residents who were awarded level 1 certification in agriculture/horticulture from the National Examination Council (NEC). Photo courtesy the Ministry of Education

YOUTH Development and National Service Minister Foster Cummings has said more opportunities will be created for young people to get involved in agriculture.

He spoke at the virtual launch of the National Entrepreneurship Development Company’s entrepreneurship week on Tuesday.

“The ministry, has within the past six months, initiated a series of programs geared towards empowering our youth, retooling and reskilling them to become employable and, more so, employers.”

These programs include Amplify (a structured music-production training program for people wishing to start their own or work in a professional studio, operate digital multi-track recorders, or become skilled music producers and arrangers), Allset (to acquire skills to operate heavy equipment) and the Youth Agriculture Homestead Program (YAHP).

Cummings reminded his audience that YAHP is “a comprehensive agricultural training program to equip young people with the skills to become successful 21st-century agribusiness.”

He said other opportunities will be made available for young people to get involved in agriculture and possibly become agricultural entrepreneurs. One involves a collaboration between the ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, UWI and the Guyana government.

“We will be embarking on a Youth Agricultural Shade House Project that will support our youth in agriculture to expand their levels of production; increase the capacity of our local agriculture sector; and contribute to reducing our food export bill.”

The ministry is also looking to establish entrepreneurship hubs and a business park to create additional opportunities for young people to develop their entrepreneurial potential.

Cummings said this was part of the ministry’s steadfast commitment to expanding the youth development agenda.

“While this conference targets all entrepreneurs, it aims to assist those who have not yet started a business, help persons to develop their business ideas and offers measures that many of you small business owners can use to scale up for growth.”

Cummings acknowledged the continuing contributions made by Nedco over the last 20 years towards the sustainable development of micro and small enterprises (MSEs).

Cummings said Nedco, now under the remit of his ministry, has taken those contributions to another level.

It now offers “a comprehensive suite of business development services to existing start-ups and persons who are interested in starting a new business.”

These include small-business development loans and entrepreneurial training and business advisory services which are designed to provide direct support to MSEs.

Cummings said MSEs remain integral to the economy’s development and diversification.

He praised the MSEs which were able to survive the challenges posed by the covid19 pandemic, through their hard work and tenacity.

Entertainer Rodell “Rodey” Cumberbatch said in 2015, he decided to use his passion for photography and videography to become an entrepreneur.

“You are your own product.”

Cumberbatch has created a host of characters such as Fleecky, Wetty and Ro’dey, through his company Blumoon Productions, that have entertained people around the world on social media through comedic skits based on relationships.

Cumberbatch said his business model is dynamic and he continues to find ways to grow his audience.

“Comedy is serious business.” He advised young people who want to become entrepreneurs that they will need to take risks to succeed. Cumberbatch said an entrepreneur plays the roles of boss, employer and employee simultaneously.

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