The Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Programme (RYEEP) will be expanded to accommodate more young people with the needed training, along with the requisite tools, to pursue successful agricultural businesses.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, says the move to expand the Rural Economic Empowerment Programme is aligned with the Government’s commitment to boost youth engagement in the agricultural sector.
The Minister noted that youth inclusion in agriculture is a priority for the Ministry, as they seek to transform the sector into one that is researched-based, utilising technology and innovation to stimulate and increase production and productivity for both the domestic and international markets.
“In support of this, 20 percent of all agricultural lands under government control are now being reserved for youth under preferential terms,” Minister Shaw added.
Shaw says the Ministry aims to have 800 newly youth-owned agricultural enterprises established this year. He also hinted that work is far ahead in the establishment of an advocate council, where youth will have an opportunity to make an input in the policies and programmes of the Ministry.
The advocate council will target persons ages 18 to 35, who will meet regularly with the Minister and provide policy direction, implement programmes, and communications strategies aimed at getting more young people into farming.