Georgetown, GINA, August 5, 2016
Fifteen (15) youths from across Guyana today, graduated after completing a four-day Agro-Processing Training Programme at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.
The training was a collaborative effort between the GSA and the office of the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment, Aubrey Norton.
President David Granger had advised that young people should be guided to self-employment since the state cannot provide all the jobs, hence the programme was aimed at empowering young people by training them in agro-processing towards enabling them to become entrepreneurs.
The programme comprises two phases; phase one consists of training in agro-processing while phase two will see training in financial literacy and business. This will afford the youths the business and managerial skills needed to manage a small business.
Norton, in addressing the youths at the phase one graduation urged them to recognise the value in self-employment. Norton advised the graduands to start small, but focus on growing whatever business they venture into.
“It is important that we develop into bigger businesses because one of the objectives of this kind of activity is to create employment, so when you become self-employed, you must be able to develop a business so that you can employ others,” Norton stated.
The vision is to allow young people to see themselves as entrepreneurs. Additionally, the Presidential Advisor said that he is aware that one of the biggest problems faced by young people is start-up capital, but it is being addressed.
“There is a proposal that is being considered I think positively in which there will emerge a mechanism where young people will be able to obtain some assistance to start a business and in some cases where they have, expand. So see this as an opening, as a new opportunity for you young people to develop yourself, and to contribute positively to the development of the community and Guyana at large,” Norton explained.
Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, George Jervis said that he was happy to see youths taking up agriculture and urged them to take full advantage of the training received.
Jervis told the batch of students that agro-processing is an industry that is fast growing, citing that in 2014, 1538 tons of agro-processing commodities were produced, valued at US$3M. Jervis also advised the graduands not to take the certificate earned for granted.
“You have to make money from what you do here, this is not for hobby. I know the time and money invested in you, is not for money, is not for hobby, so I would like to see you displaying your work,” Jervis urged.
Kelshine Griffith, a graduate from the training programme told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that she was delighted to have participated in the programme. “I have my own kitchen garden and to know that you can actually take things that you would normally, if you leave it for a couple of days you can throw it away, you can actually process it and make a new product so it could last longer time,” Griffith said.
Paul Phillips, another graduate, told GINA that, “I have organisations within my community and I am willing to share with them what I have learnt and put these things what I have learnt into practice,” Phillips explained.
“This course is not only beneficial for young students, you have students that are here that are aged. They have their family but they still take the little time to be a part of the training,” Rishmattie Sukhu another graduate of the programme added.
During the four-day training programme, participants learnt how to process and package pepper, papaw, cherry, and pineapple among other fruits and vegetables.
The participants were drawn from across the 10 administrative regions.