For many years, Caribbean citizens have migrated in search of lucrative employment opportunities but now, the Secretary-General (SG) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Dr. Carla Barnett has called on the region’s youth to capitalise on the abundant opportunities here.
“There was a time in our history when we thought that in order to find prosperity for ourselves, we needed to move out of the region.
“That is no longer the case, you don’t have to think that way,” Dr. Barnett said while speaking at the youth forum on the final day of the regional Agri-Investment forum hosted in Georgetown.
With the expansion of regional food production placed squarely at the top of CARICOM’s agenda, the Secretary-General assured the region’s youth that there is an increasing number of employment and business opportunities for them to exploit.
In fact, CARICOM aims to cut its US $5 billion food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025. That means that there is at least a US $1.5 billion market to exploit.
“… your role in agriculture is one of massive possibilities not only to grow more food but to transform local food systems with all of the available technologies and build communities that can help lift entire communities out of poverty.
“The research is done and the data is clear: there is an abundance of opportunities for you in the region,” the CARICOM Secretary-General emphasised.
While farmers and investors across the region are seeking to capitalise on the increasing thrust for expanded food production, Guyana’s First Lady Mrs. Arya Ali underscored that the region’s youth are particularly capable of aiding this charge.
“Their [the youth’s] exposure and familiarity with innovation and tech solutions offer solutions to some of the region’s biggest agricultural challenges,” Mrs. Ali posited.
She also underscored that young people are among those with a much-needed sense of creativity and innovation- both needed to craft feasible, modern solutions to expand agro-production in the region.
Resultantly, the First Lady posited that if there are more initiatives prioritising youth participation in agriculture, the entire region stands to benefit significantly.
Already, she highlighted that President Dr. Irfaan Ali has started such initiatives with the establishment of the youth agricultural and entrepreneurial initiative.
Through this, young people from across the country are participating in the production of high-end vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.