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WINFA leading thrust for development of youth in agriculture policy

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“Yes! Youths are interested in agriculture, but we need a supportive environment.” This appeal was made by Youths in North Leeward, at a regional consultation organized by the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Transformation, Forestry and Fisheries, held in Chateaubelair on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.{{more}}

The session is the first in a series of consultations scheduled to take place throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines, over the upcoming weeks and are being organized to address a specific set of issues, mainly:

1. To explore youth perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in the agricultural sector

2. To build capacity to respond to identified gaps and challenges through the agri value chain

3. To examine frameworks for increased youth participation.

The National Consultations are also aimed at allowing young persons to articulate issues and ideas that can help to frame the National Youth in Agriculture Policy for SVG.

Along with the call for support by young people, there were also positions raised for greater attention to be paid to the challenges that are inherent to youth in agriculture. Some of these were access to land, access to markets, financing for development, risk and insurance, praedial larceny, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and mechanisms for youth involvement. WINFA’s coordinator Mrs Kozel Fraser indicated that, “based on interactions with youths in North Leeward, WINFA is confident that provided with the right facilitative environment, young persons will be attracted to and invest in the agricultural sector.”

The development of the Youth in Agriculture Policy is currently being funded by the Government of SVG’s BAM programme. SVG, like many other Caribbean countries, does not have a current youth in agricultural policy to guide youth related interventions in the sector, and the intention, through these national consultations, is to create a space where youths can express their views, ideas and concerns in a direct and structured way through the policy process.

The consultations will continue today, January 19, in Evesham at the Marriaqua Learning Resource Centre, followed by one on Thursday, January 21 at the Sandy Bay Learning Resource Centre. It is anticipated that at the end of the sessions a firm youth policy will be submitted to the Government for consideration.

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