Empowering women and youth in agriculture is part of President Dr Irfaan Ali’s vision to eradicate biases and create equal opportunities.
The President, during the launch of the Black Belly Sheep Project in Region Five (Demerara-Mahaica) on Sunday, revealed that 20 per cent of the farmers must be women and 35 per cent must be young people 35 years and under.
“This is part of building the future, this is part of empowerment.
“These are real targets and a real involvement of people so not only must agriculture be about food production,” President Ali emphasised.
The Head of State explained that there is great economic prosperity in agriculture but there must be a change and the involvement of youth and women can boost the sector.
“That is why we started the youth programme so we can get more young people involved in our country; we have graduates from the University of Guyana, the Guyana School of Agriculture that are involved in planting,” the President said.
With women and youth participating in agriculture, Guyana’s dependency on imports can also be reduced. This was revealed by the Director of the Agriculture Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme, Malika Russel.
The programme was officially launched in January and was conceptualised by President Ali. The President committed to constructing 100 shade houses that will be used to guide young people on how to properly cultivate high-quality crops.
“Currently, we have six shade houses under production as well as eight shade houses under construction,” Russel said.
The programme targets both current and past students of the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), the University of Guyana (UG), and other budding agriculture entrepreneurs. These shade houses will be used to cultivate high-value crops such as carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.