40 young people will benefit from an agricultural land lease

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has selected 20 young people to lease land ranging from 2.5 to 5 acres in agro-parks and production areas across the island.

The youths will mainly grow cash crops such as pepper, sweet corn, Irish and sweet potato on their plots. An additional 20 young people will also be awarded leases shortly, said Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Pearnel Charles Jr.

The Agro-Invest Corporation will also provide support to young people in terms of land preparation, technical advice and market linkages so that whatever they produce, they have a market to sell.

“I want to encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that you reflect excellence so that others look up to you to be the role model,” said Charles Jr.

He was speaking at a handover ceremony held at Toll Gate Mango Agro-Park in Clarendon.

“This is a very specific but deliberate approach to putting the framework and the support in place and ensuring that agriculture as a sector is attractive to our young people,” he added.

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries further said that the main task of the ministry is to ensure that young farmers can access resources and actively work to enrich the lives of farmers.

As part of its commitment to help create agricultural space, the government will invest an additional $70 million this fiscal year to support the extension of irrigation services to the Toll Gate Mango Agro-Park.

This follows an initial $128 million spent by the ministry to establish 60-acre irrigation as well as roads and a drainage system for the 935-acre property.

“This illustrates a level of commitment to helping you investors in these agricultural spaces. We not only want you to strive, but we need you to thrive, and the government has a responsibility to ensure your investment is protected,” said Charles Jr.

Private investors have already committed $20 million to the production of East Indian and St Julian’s mangoes on the 935 acres of land slated for export to established markets in the US, Canada, UK and in the Cayman Islands.

Amalia H. Mercado