Nov 28, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Extension services play a crucial role in the growth and development of the agricultural sector and rural communities for CARICOM Member States. In fact, they are central to exploiting the real potential of agricultural research and development.
What is also crucial to note about extension services is that it has traditionally been delivered through centralised and decentralised public-funded agencies. Increasingly however, private agricultural extension has been partially replacing these public-funded initiatives. While the rationale behind private funded extension in the Region has been driven largely by efficiency concerns, undoubtedly, it has ushered a situation of a vastly underserved demand.
In an effort to ensure more public funded extension services reach all industry stakeholders, CARICOM has received support from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to assist in capacity building of a first cohort of 153 Extension Officers from 15 Caribbean countries. This exercise will support the new Agriculture Agenda being led by the Special Ministerial Task Force on Food Production and Food Security.
Kaieteur News understands that the Ministerial Task Force, which was formed at a CARICOM Heads of Governments meeting in February 2021, and is chaired by Zulfikar Mustapha, Minister of Agriculture for Guyana, is tasked with expanding the agriculture sector to support the increase in both intra and extra regional trade.
The virtual Regional Agriculture Extension Training programme will cover the following topics under the Sustainable Inclusive Extension Programme: ICT in extension; new extension delivery methodologies; tablets, drones, social media, traditional tools and platforms in extension and agricultural technology transfer; agri-business and value chains; and new market intelligence approaches for food security, exports and rural livelihoods.
Under the Sustainable Agricultural Production Programme, the topics will include: exploring renewable energy including solar and bio digesting, climatic and risk modelling, integrated water resource management; Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) for crops, livestock and integrated farming.
This effort is expected to complement the work to be undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture regarding the improvement of extension services countrywide. The Ministry recently disclosed that in 2022 it will introduce a curriculum that is designed to improve the effectiveness of its extension officers. Through the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA), extension officers attached to the ministry will receive training on how to properly carry out their functions to better cater to the needs of the nation’s farmers.
Minister Mustapha said the programme should be ready before mid-next year while adding that extension officers will be able to receive training through the GSA to improve the services offered to farmers and agro-processors. He said too that the courses are expected to include best practices for proper animal husbandry, artificial insemination techniques, shade house development, a ‘six-point method for rice cultivation, post-harvest handling of perishable produce and smart agriculture practices.
“This is one of the steps we are taking to revamp the sector so that quality service can be delivered. Agriculture is once again at the forefront of our economy and we have to ensure that our extension personnel are well equipped and informed on how to deliver the calibre of services that were promised to citizens during our 2020 elections campaign trail,” Minister Mustapha said.
Since taking office, Minister Mustapha has been meeting with farmers across the country who aired concerns about the quality of services being offered by the extension arm of several agencies which form part of the ministry. After receiving similar complaints at a number of outreaches, Minister Mustapha disclosed that the entire extension arm of the ministry would soon be revamped. He also said that extension officers who were not willing to work to execute the mandate of the present government will be relieved of their services.
Jan 16, 2022Kaieteur News – By Zaheer Mohamed Vicky Ostwal and Raj Bawa produced excellent spells and a superb knock from skipper Yash Dhull handed India U19 a 54-run win over South Africa U19 when the ICC...
Jan 16, 2022
Jan 16, 2022
Jan 16, 2022
Jan 16, 2022
Jan 16, 2022
Kaieteur News – Please read and reflect on the following words of Khemraj Ramjattan in a television interview: “What... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – By 2030, it is more than likely that the eight independent Commonwealth Caribbean... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]