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Youth urged to plant the land

Monday, July 2, 2018
Kernahan gets agricultural programme
Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Ramdai Sookdeo, centre, Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd’s Lara Joseph, second from right, and Anne-marie Quammie-Alleyne, right, pose for a picture with Agricultural Training Programme trainees during the launch of their project at the Forestry Training Centre in Kernahan on Friday. PICTURE RALPH BANWARIE

Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd’s Lara Joseph says this country has become so westernised and commercialised that home gardening is now seen as something for only old people.

“Our focus is no longer on fresh grown food, but imported and fast foods,” Joseph said at the launch of an Agricultural Training Programme For Rural Communities at the Forestry Training Centre in Kernahan on Friday.

She said her father was a farmer and planted ground provision, bananas, pumpkin, tomatoes and sweet and hot peppers among other things. She said this enabled him to take care of their family.

“We had no cause to purchase anything from the grocery or go to the market because most of our food came from what our father planted,” Joseph told the gathering.

She added that in the community of Grande Riviere, where she grew up, most people planted and when someone did not have certain foods neighbours used to share with one another.

“We ate freshly grown food, we were healthy and people died when they were old,” she said, adding that things had changed drastically today.

However, she emphasised the importance of agriculture, saying it provides healthy foods and finances for survival and most importantly motivates the 20 trainees who were selected to pursue the course of study in agriculture at Kernahan.

She advised the trainees to make all efforts to complete their course as it will help them with income and food. She publicly commended the World Food Day National Committee of Trinidad and Tobago, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services for putting the project together and her company for providing the funding.

Acting chairman of the World Food Day National Committee of Trinidad and Tobago Petal Ram, in her address, said this is one of their many projects and the objective is to improve the livelihood and nutrition security for individuals.

She said this is the first of the five projects to be launched, with others to come in other agricultural districts including one in Tobago.

The programme, which targets individuals between the ages of 18-30 for training in home gardening, was developed by the committee in partnership with the two ministries and funded by Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd.

Anne-Marie Quammie-Alleyne, of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, said the training projects are important to those vulnerable to skills development and will assist in their socio-economic activities. She added that it is no secret that the Government is hard-pressed to support such initiatives but said she hopes it would indeed help decrease the country’s food import bills and trainees will improve their lives.

Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries Ramdai Sookdeo said it is their hope that the programme would also help empower the trainees to become entrepreneurs. She said more production in agriculture means food security.



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