The BECT has awarded to the Inter American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) for the creation of a Future Farmers database.
IICA Barbados is approved by the Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) Council as a Training Centre to deliver N/CVQs in 11 courses for the Agri-Food Sector. These are: Crop Production (Levels 1&2), Livestock Rearing, Aquaculture Grow Out Operations, Rabbit Rearing; Tree Crop Farming; Butchery; Agro-Processing (Levels 1, 2 &3) and Amenity Horticulture. Since 2012, IICA Barbados has implemented a Youth Farm Summer Programme for secondary school students, strongly supported by the Government of Barbados through the TVET Council under the Ministries of Labour and Education. Over the years, the Youth Farm Programme has been funded by: IICA, TVET Council, Ministry of Education; New Zealand High Commission to Barbados; WUSC PROPEL of Canada; UN Food & Agriculture Organization. Support for internships, job attachments and awards has also been provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, private farmers and local businesses.
Students are selected in collaboration with the Principals and Agri-Science teachers in the Secondary Schools who put forward two to three of their best Agri-Science 4th and 5th form students. These students are then screened based on assessment of completion of a selected course unit and an interview.
To date, the IICA Youth Farm Summer Programme has successfully trained and certified some 150 students, many of whom have found employment with the private sector or enrolled in agricultural degree programmes at the Barbados Community College and at UWI in Trinidad, with some of them employed as field assistants, trainers and assessors in the annual Youth Farm Programme.
The establishment of a ‘Future Farmers’ website showcasing the database of youth farmers trained to date under IICA’s projects, and featuring skill / business profiles and success stories, innovations and technologies in Climate Smart Agriculture, and networking opportunities in Barbados as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean. This project will lead to the wider establishment of a regional youth farming and innovation seminar.