FAO impressed with Guyanese youth involvement in agri sector

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr Qu Dongyu, expressed admiration for the significant participation of young people in driving the modernisation of Guyana’s agriculture sector.

On Wednesday, the director general engaged students from the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) during site visits to the hydroponics project and Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme (AEIP), at the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.

Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Qu Dongyu engaging GSA students

Dr Dongyu is currently in Guyana for the 38th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean Ministerial Session.

“You are lucky because in your country, you have a great leader and a good opportunity for the economy due to the natural resources…water, soil, gas, forest and others just offer you preconditions. That is why we need the qualified generation who are willing to be engaged in modernisation. You have to prepare yourself,” he told the students.

FAO’s Director General handing over a plaque to NAREI’s CEO, Jagnarine Singh

Dr Dongyu also encouraged the budding agriculturists to use their training opportunities to elevate their skill sets.

During the tour, the director general was briefed on the impact of the cultivation of high-value crops due to increased demand and lucrativeness, locally and regionally.

A variety of crops, including pakchoi and high-end herbs are being cultivated as part of the hydroponics project to meet the needs of the growing tourism industry.

FAO’s Director General, Qu Dongyu, Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat and other officials during the site visit at NAREI

Meanwhile, some 70 per cent of young people are already involved in the AEIP initiative which have pushed them to become successful agri-business owners.

At NAREI, about 54 shade houses are cultivated with various high-value crops such as lettuce, cilantro, kale, cauliflower, bell pepper, carrot, parsley, and chilli pepper.

Almost 300 shade houses have been constructed to date. Nearly 13 per cent of all the shade houses constructed were distributed to schools nationwide, 17 per cent went to farming groups, and 50 per cent to farmers.

Approximately 15 per cent of the shade houses are being utilised by youths involved in the AIEP.

Additionally, as part of the visit to NAREI, Dr Dongyu handed over a plaque to NAREI’s CEO, Jagnarine Singh for the magnificent work the agency has been doing to drive the local agriculture sector.

Accompanying the DG were Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, FAO’s Country Representative, Dr Gillian Smith and other officials. (DPI)