The United Progressive Party Government is well aware that the long term viability of the agriculture sector and its ability to increase its contribution to the economy of Antigua and Barbuda will depend on greater involvement of youth in the sector. In this regard, the Ministry of Agriculture, with the support of the FAO, has developed a strategic plan for increasing involvement of youth in Agriculture.
This ten-year development plan was recently completed and will lead to the execution of a number of long-awaited projects such as Project 40:20 in Pares and the National Youth Farm.
The National Youth Farm is to be implemented over three phases and will provide training and employment for young people who have an aptitude for work in the agriculture sector and are interested in being part of a transformative process that will make agriculture more lucrative. At least 50 youth will participate in the first phase of this project.
The participants will receive practical training in agriculture techniques and procedures, will be directly involved in producing various crops, and will rear goats and other small ruminants. Each participant will receive a stipend while participating in the initial stage of the programme. However, they will each have an opportunity to earn a larger income from the produce they grow and harvest on the Youth Farm.
The purpose of this programme is to demonstrate to young people the potential of agriculture as a viable source of income and the opportunities to operate successful farming businesses. Over the course of four years, up to 200 youth will receive training under this programme and will be engaged in cultivating about 100 acres of land.