Agri biz programme bears fruit

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

SIXTY young people from across the southeastern community of Mayaro have accessed a positive pathway to success following the conclusion of the Youth Entrepreneurship in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) at the bpTT Mayaro Resource Centre on Friday, April 7th.

On hand to participate in the final session and interact with the graduates was Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Clarence Rambharat who conceptualised the programme almost a year ago.

YEAP represents a collaborative effort between the Agriculture Ministry, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) and energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago. It focused on creating avenues for entrepreneurship, innovation and employment in agro-industry for residents of Mayaro and environs.

Spilt into three day-long workshops, the programme delivered comprehensive training in the areas of ‘Techniques for making signature sauces into successful businesses’;  ‘Processing of candied fruits’; and concluded with ‘Processing of vegetable pickles’.

“This has been a very impressive programme with equally remarkable results and the partcipants have been given an opportunity to transform their lives and take the community of Mayaro even further forward. YEAP was very comprehensive and delivered in-depth information about every aspect of being a businessperson, from technology to techniques and the inherent need for professionalism. The benefits don’t end today because some of the participants will be selected for the Business Incubator Programme. I’m proud of everyone who took part and I look forward to purchasing your products in the very near future,” the Minister explained 

Joel Primus, Community Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations Advisor, bpTT, underscored the company’s partnership in the programme. “Fostering entrepreneurship is one of the pillars of bpTT’s corporate philosophy and this programme was able to achieve that with a high level of excellence. It provided a different perspective on agriculture and also inculcated valuable skills that included good manufacturing practices, sanitation and packaging. The impact of this programme has national and even international potential because all it takes is one brilliant idea to change the world. The response from the participants was great encouragement in our drive to invest in the development of people,” Primus pointed out.

The final session saw the young entrepreneurs produce mixed pickles and hot chow chow, where they were ably assisted by Minister Rambharat and Primus.

Also on hand to lend support was CARIRI’s Chief Executive Officer, Liaquat Ali Shah, who encouraged the participants to believe in themselves and explained, “You are now well equipped for a new and exciting  world of opportunity  and just as you have improved yourselves, you need to take Mayaro and our nation forward as well.”

For 25-year-old Afeisha Rodney of New Lands Village, Guayaguayare, the project was a transformative experience, “I work at a popular catering establishment and I will take back what I learnt to share with my co-workers and increase the capacity of the business. I have a degree in Biochemistry and I appreciated how scientific methodology was incorporated into the training. We owe a dept of gratitude to the Ministry, CARIRI and bpTT because, at the end of the day, there are now 60 young people in Mayaro with a renewed vision and new skills who are ready to make a difference.”

"I will take back what I learnt to share with my co-workers and increase the capacity of the business."