Keep agriculture in focus

Google News

Two weeks ago, agri­cul­ture stake­hold­ers were hit with a gut punch when news re­ports emerged that the Caribbean Ex­am­i­na­tion Coun­cil (CXC) an­nounced Dou­ble Award Agri­cul­tur­al Sci­ence was among four sub­jects which were planned to be sus­pend­ed due to poor en­rol­ment num­bers.

One such stake­hold­er is agri­cul­ture con­sul­tant Riyadh Mo­hammed, who ques­tioned the de­ci­sion giv­en Cari­com’s goal to re­duce the food im­port bill by 25 per cent by 2025.

“The need for food is in­creas­ing due to the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, which is why agri­cul­tur­al ed­u­ca­tion is es­sen­tial. Gen­er­a­tions to come will know ex­act­ly where their food comes from thanks to agri­cul­tur­al ed­u­ca­tion, and more peo­ple might be in­spired to work in the fields in or­der to sup­port the ex­pand­ing pop­u­la­tion. Analy­sis of agri­cul­ture, nat­ur­al re­sources, food sup­plies, and re­lat­ed top­ics are all in­clud­ed in the field of agri­cul­tur­al ed­u­ca­tion. Fun­da­men­tal­ly, it’s a no­tion that keeps peo­ple alive since agri­cul­ture is nec­es­sary for ex­is­tence. The ma­jor­i­ty of agri­cul­tur­al ed­u­ca­tion takes place through the study of dif­fer­ent farm­ing-re­lat­ed sub­jects, such as dif­fer­ent plant­i­ng and grow­ing tech­niques or the back­ground of T&T agri­cul­ture’s evo­lu­tion,” Mo­hammed told the Sun­day Busi­ness Guardian.

CXC has since re­versed the de­ci­sion to scrap the Dou­ble Award Agri­cul­ture Sci­ence pro­gramme.

Mo­hammed said he was still wary.

“I’m not yet ful­ly com­fort­ed by any state­ment, un­til our Dou­ble Award Agri­cul­tur­al Sci­ence is as it should be, ful­ly sup­port­ed through­out the ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing sys­tem! It is here that our lead­ers must show their com­mit­ment to our peo­ple, coun­try and re­gion, as they lob­by for pro­tect­ing our agri­cul­ture sec­tor and all of its stake­hold­ers! Hu­mans re­quire a few fun­da­men­tal ne­ces­si­ties. To sur­vive, we need ac­cess to food, wa­ter, air, and shel­ter. Hu­mans can­not sur­vive if even one of these fun­da­men­tal needs is not sat­is­fied,” said Mo­hammed who told the Sun­day Busi­ness Guardian that he had not seen sup­port­ing in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing the low en­rol­ment num­bers so far.

“I have seen no sta­tis­tics in the pub­lic do­main. Re­gard­less of hav­ing pub­lished or not pub­lished the “low-stu­dent en­roll­ment,” what the au­thor­i­ties should be more con­cerned about is the cur­rent sta­tus of food pro­duc­tion and nu­tri­tion se­cu­ri­ty and the fu­ture of pro­duc­ing safe and nu­tri­tious food for all. Cari­com heads of Gov­ern­ment have pledged to cut the re­gion’s high food im­port cost by 25% by 2025,” said Mo­hammed.

He stressed that food pro­duc­tion should re­main a fo­cus for ed­u­ca­tors around the re­gion as a re­sult and in­deed more should be done to en­cour­age ed­u­ca­tion through the sub­ject.

Agri­cul­ture ac­tivist and Pres­i­dent of the T&T Farm­ers Union Shi­raz Khan said the de­cline in the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants in the sub­ject in this coun­try was linked to the lim­it­ed num­ber of schools which cur­rent­ly can of­fer the sub­ject as well as even few­er spe­cial­ists will­ing to work with schools in that area.

He ex­plained this is why Agri­cul­tur­al Sci­ence -Sin­gle Award which fo­cus­es on veg­eta­bles and crop de­vel­op­ment has re­mained on the syl­labus while the Dou­ble Award, which is con­nect­ed to live­stock, is in dan­ger of get­ting cut.

“The rea­son for that is that a num­ber of these sec­ondary schools that have the pens and the abil­i­ty to do the live­stock have not done that be­cause they couldn’t get per­son­nel to han­dle the teach­ing and the as­sist­ing in that area, “ said Khan, “What has hap­pened is that many peo­ple do not want to take that po­si­tion, be­cause it’s kind of like a farm­hand po­si­tion and it’s very low­ly paid. So peo­ple who have stud­ied it and try­ing to go and as­sist peo­ple in learn­ing are re­al­is­ing that the pack­age is not at­trac­tive.”

In the ab­sence of these work­ers, who would have pre­vi­ous­ly tend­ed to an­i­mals, Khan said the school’s live­stock was large­ly giv­en away to pet shops and agri­cul­ture shops when schools ought to have en­gaged farm­ers to help en­sure that these an­i­mals would still be avail­able to the schools.

Khan how­ev­er said this need­ed to be ad­dressed, as like Mo­hammed, he not­ed that Agri­cul­ture had far too im­por­tant a role to be dis­card­ed even par­tial­ly.

“If it is that you on­ly want to en­cour­age peo­ple to do veg­etable pro­duc­tion is that bal­anc­ing the agri­cul­ture sec­tor? Is that bal­ance to the peo­ple who would like to learn a bit about some­thing?” he asked.

“I think it is un­fair for them to re­move it just like that with­out en­sur­ing that all as­pects are tak­en in­to place to make it an even en­vi­ron­ment for teach­ing or learn­ing with live­stock than just to re­move it. Many of the present days farm­ers prob­a­bly have passed through that sys­tem, and gained their love for agri­cul­ture from there,” said Khan, who called for an in­ter­ven­tion so that the skilled work­ers can re­turn to the schools and the op­tion can re­main for stu­dents.

Source of this programme

“My beautiful brother says this plugin is unbelievable!!”

“Two weeks ago, agriculture stakeholders were hit with a gut punch when news reports emerged that the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) announced Double Award Agricultural Science was among four subjects…”

Source: Read More

Source Link:

#GoogleNews – BLOGGER – GoogleNews