Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Dr. Carla Barnett has said that young people are the key to the total transformation of the Region’s agri-food system.
Barnett spoke at the launch of the ‘I Am Agriculture: Youth in Agriculture’ Social Media Campaign on Friday.
She noted that the estimated average age of farmers in the Region is between 50 and 60 years.
And Barnett explained that more young farmers should be coming in to replace old farmers to sustain the Region’s agricultural sector.
“This is one of the things that we must change if the Region is to be food secure and also strengthen its economic and trade prospects,” the CARICOM Secretary-General observed.
According to Barnett, young people constitute a section of society with the highest unemployment and food insecurity levels.
However, she stated that the youth possess untapped potential, like the agriculture sector.
As a result, the Secretary-General said facilitating youth participation in the agriculture sector will provide much-needed employment opportunities and will also help to drive innovation and growth.
She explained that in this way, the resulting benefit to individual countries and the Community would also grow.
“To effect a true change to youth engagement in agriculture, a rethinking, a paradigm shift is taking place in how we view and engage with youth,” Barnett asserted.
She said she was aware of the challenges faced by young people trying to engage in agriculture.
Nevertheless, Barnett emphasised that as Secretary-General, one of her priorities is to change the landscape of regional agriculture and agri-food systems, focusing more on technology, investment, and youth engagement.
Headline photo: Dr. Carla Barnett (Stock image)