The H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) is expected to commence agricultural training courses next month.
The proposed courses will be done on the college’s campus in Paraquita Bay and will encompass both practical and theoretical training.
The training is expected to equip participants with knowledge in modern agricultural practices along with farm environment training that focuses on environmental preservation.
The participants will be required to complete at least three courses with two of them involving crop and animal production while the other is in ‘farming business’.
All participants must enrol in one course at a given time and once all requirements are met, they receive official certification.
Chairman for the Agricultural Advisory Committee, William Georges said the programme is designed with the intention of assisting the farming community and the entire territory at large by providing initial agriculture training.
“The programme being developed will not only widen the scope of the college’s offerings to students but will increase training available to agricultural producers,” he added.
After their initial certification, participants will be designated as “certified farmers” by the Department of Agriculture and they will receive benefits and privileges depending on the occasion. If desired, the certified farmers can enrol in additional courses to obtain further training.
According to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs at HLSCC, Dr Arlene Smith-Thompson, the programme will change in the future. Its evolution will be dependent on the particular response and interest of the general population. Additionally, courses at a higher level with greater academic rigour may be included in the future.
The course offerings by the Department of Agriculture and HLSCC comes at a time when food security has become a major problem for the territory.
In August of last year, legislators, spearheaded by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Natalio Wheatley, proposed a Virgin Island Food Security and Sustainability bill to combat the issue.
The BVI relies heavily on food importation from other territories and the coronavirus
pandemic has severely stunted this avenue. Countries where the BVI usually imports food from are experiencing a downturn in production due to COVID
Food insecurity is a global issue. According to the United Nations, more than 2.3 billion people worldwide do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.