Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P, said the PPP/C Government continues to implement measures to ensure young professional Guyanese are employed and earn financially.
To this end, the agriculture minister underscored that Budget 2022 will provide $100 million to further advance the newly launched Agriculture and Innovation Entrepreneurship Programme (AIEP).
“This initiative stemmed from the President and the PPP/C’s unwavering support for young people and their needs. We are not telling them to go and cook dog food or cook-up rice… or bake bread fruit chips, we are putting people where they can work and earn,” he said, in defence of the $552.9 billion budget in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Launched early in January, the AIEP targets young entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector, empowering their lives. The initiative focuses on the efficient and sustainable production of high-value crops, including cauliflower, broccoli, and carrot.
Guyana imports $1.6 and $2.6 billion in cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, respectively. This is expected to increase significantly over the coming years.
Minister Mustapha said the initiative ties directly into government’s manifesto promise of creating jobs and opportunities for youths in Guyana, especially the young women “…hence, we must develop systems that will allow our youths to have the opportunity to help transform Guyana’s agricultural sector,” the minister told DPI in an invited comment.
Phase one of the programme will involve the construction of 25 shade houses, which will benefit graduates from the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), the University of Guyana (UG) and other young people.
Additionally, in the medium-term, the project will expand into different regions across Guyana, thereby bringing the total completed shade houses to 300.
Further, women and youths will also benefit from a series of leadership forums organised by the Hinterland Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Development Project (HESADP) that will enhance their participation in decision making bodies and community groups.