70 per cent of youths in AIEP programme are now successful business owners
Over 70 per cent of young agriculturists involved in the Agriculture Innovative and Entrepreneurship Programme (AIEP), an initiative conceptualised by the government, are now successful agri-business owners.
This was disclosed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of One Guyana Agriculture Inc., Teesha Mangru Singh, the company implementing the programme.
Mangru-Singh explained that interested agriculturists and persons with the qualifications are trained in several areas including soil production, seedling production, agronomical practices and marketing and branding.
Agro-processing is the newest addition to the programme.
“We had been able to teach them everything, every step of the way, they are aware of … As persons benefit from the programme, they’re able to go and open their businesses and we encourage more persons to enter the programme, so it’s a rotational programme,” she explained to the Department of Public Information (DPI) recently.
Other successes of the programme, she relayed, include increasing domestic income for consumers by retailing non-native crops at a cheaper price. These include cauliflower, broccoli, carrots romaine and iceberg lettuce.
“When we first took the market for cauliflower, imported cauliflower was retailing for around $1700 a pound. We retail for $500 a pound, so we’re making it accessible to the normal citizen,” she further explained.
Additionally, around 200 shade houses were erected for youth-based organisations across the country, increasing the involvement of more youths in the agriculture sector.
The AIEP initiative was launched by President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali in January 2022, and is intended to stimulate and promote economic growth and improve the lives of young agriculturists. It is also contributing to CARICOM’s target of reducing its large food import bill by 25 per cent by the year 2025, with Guyana leading the initiative.
More than 100 young graduates of the University of Guyana and the Guyana School of Agriculture are engaged in shade house farming by cultivating crops that are non-native to Guyana.