Young locals encouraged to look at agriculture as ‘viable career path’
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Dr Natalio Wheatley has been encouraging young people in the territory to get involved in the agriculture and fisheries sector as he said it is a viable career path and an always-ready market for the goods produced.
Speaking at the Virgin Gorda Agriculture and Fisheries’ Station Market Dedication and Exhibition Day on Tuesday, Dr Wheatley noted that for several years prior to the hurricanes in 2017, the Farmers and Fishers’ Week was stopped.
“I don’t know what the justification could be for stopping it because one of the most important aspects of Farming and Fishing Week is the youths. The young people, the schools, I want to thank the schoolteachers and principals for bringing these young people here because agriculture, farming and fishing will never be successful if the young people do not grab hold of them,” Dr Wheatley said.
“So, I am talking to you specifically students today, computers cannot grow yams and food does not grow in a can. The tuna fish you get in a can are caught from the sea and we have the capability of doing it,” the Fisheries Minister stated.
Dr Wheatley further said he questions the thought process of people who do not see farming and fishing as viable career options. He said people must eat no matter the circumstances. The Agricultural Minister also said from the beginning of time, in the Garden of Eden, people were farmers and fishers.
“You can’t go without food for too long because it is a viable career,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Agricultural Minister made reference to Ukraine and acknowledged that the country is referred to as one of the breadbaskets of Europe.
“When you people are speaking about the cost of living and the price of shipping going up most times you are talking about the supermarkets. What does that tell you? Someone is making a lot of money from food. From selling food but we are not the ones making that money,” Dr Wheatley stated.
“We must reverse that trend. As opposed to importing 90 per cent of our food, we must get to the point where we are producing 90 per cent of our food and it is important to make a start. You can’t do the 90 per cent at one time. You must start at five per cent then move up to 10 per cent and then to 15 per cent. Then you keep going and take it as far as possible,” the minister added.