STUDENTS from a number of secondary schools are currently the beneficiaries of a workshop/training program on organic, hydroponic and hybrid-system agriculture funded for Guyana by the Organisation of American States (OAS).The program is titled: “The provisions: Organic, Hydroponic and Hybrid System growing for Caribbean Schools and model for local Caribbean Entrepreneurship,” and is being implemented by the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College of Education of St Kitts Nevis in collaboration with the Government of Guyana (GOG) through the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute
Guyana is one of five Caribbean countries participating in the project, others being St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago.
The visiting resource persons from St Kitts Nevis are Project Manager Dr. Leighton Narine, Expert Mr Stuart La Place and Project Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mr. Andre Huie.
The venue is NAREI facilities at Mon Repos East Coast Demerara.
NAREI constructed the hydroponics and organoponics facilities being used by the resource persons and participants.
Officials disclosed that the workshop is part of an effort by the OAS to provide effective training, skills and tools to schools, farmers, extension officers and underprivileged groupings in these relatively new areas of agricultural production within the Caribbean Region.
The local students participating are drawn from schools on the lower East Coast Demerara and the West Coast of Demerara including President’s College, the Beterverwagting Secondary School, an educational institution from Anna Catherina, West Coast Demerara and the Joshua House Institute, among others.
The five-day workshop was launched on Monday last in the Boardroom of the Guyana School of Agriculture .The opening ceremony was attended by and Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy, OAS Representative to Guyana, Mr Jean Ricot Dormeus, Chief Executive Officer of NAREI Dr. Oudho Homenauth,the visiting resource persons from St Kitts Nevis as well as the secondary school students, staff and students of the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), technicians from NAREI and several senior agricultural officers.
In a feature address, Minister Ramsammy traced the evolution of agriculture in Guyana from one of subsistence farming to one of a highly lucrative business bolstered by ever growing science and technology.
He stressed that agriculture has the potential to move Guyana from a middle income country to a developed country.
He urged the participants to embrace the technological advances in agriculture and by this means transform the activity into a money making business while at the same time making a tangible contribution to food security in Guyana and the wider Caribbean community.
Dr Narine said that the project is also expected to produce educational resource material and curriculum for use in Caribbean schools, particularly those focused on technical and vocational training. It is designed to be easily replicated in any country context.
Mr Dormeus said that the concept of the workshop began as student-based research on sustainable agriculture within the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) program.
It grew into a project concept that was submitted to the Development Cooperation Fund of the OAS in November 2011.
It was tested through faculty and student-led community outreach in St. Kitts-Nevis and refined to a streamlined set of outputs and activities following peer review from OAS evaluators.
He pledged the continued commitment of the OAS to sustainable development and prosperity with equity assuring that the Special Multilateral Fund of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (FEMCIDI) will continue to support member states in this regard.