Gov’t investing in youth to drive agri production – Ramsammy

Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy says government recognises the impact agriculture has on the economy and continues to invest in training that will ensure young people become the drivers of growth in this sector.

In his keynote address, to a batch of 111 students who graduated from the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) on Wednesday, the minister said agriculture is one of the key sectors that have boosted Guyana to a middle income country with the potential to move to a higher middle income status. However, this can only be realised if agriculture becomes more productive, he said, according to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release.

Melissa Retemiah, left, receives the Chairman’s Prize from Lolita Baksh, wife of Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, Ali Baksh, at the 48th convocation ceremony of the Guyana School of Agriculture.

Increased production can only be realised with better land utilisation, better use of technology and more experienced young people in the sector, Ramsammy said. “Our task is very clear…countries that are so reliant on agriculture will fail unless they invest in agriculture training,” he said. Investment in the GSA in the early 1960s has netted many gains and, as has continued investment in agriculture training.

Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who delivered the charge to the graduates, told them that they are graduating at an exciting time in Guyana’s history and the world economy as they can now make a contribution to the global agenda for food security.

“You are important because you will contribute significantly to the agriculture sector, a sector that holds the future for Guyana and you are important because you are part of our plan for future Guyana as young people,” he said. Nandlall reminded the graduates that agriculture has been the backbone of the economy and is part of the social fabric of the country; therefore graduating “to serve a sector whose importance is indelibly marked in our country’s historical revolution and our country’s social and cultural architecture.”

He urged the graduates to have an appreciation for the environment in which they will be inducted, and understand the challenges and the bright future that lies ahead of them in the sector. He advised them to move forward with the aim of enacting government’s vision of them playing a role in designing and charting a course for the nation’s future.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the GSA, Brian Greenidge thanked the staff for their continued support throughout the year and, encouraged them to continue to cooperate for the future success of the institution.

He then urged the graduates to continue to move forward, embracing discipline with the overall goal of success.

Chairman of GSA Rudolph Gajraj said he was satisfied with the institution’s success and echoed Greenidge’s praise of the staff’s dedication and commitment to maintaining the exemplary status the school enjoys among tertiary learning institutions in the country.

He also pointed out that some of the entrants’ performance in the core subject areas of English and Mathematics and the Natural Sciences remain below expectations and suggested remedying this by enlarging the school’s remedial programme. Gajraj also said the school’s fisheries course only has a small number of persons and a solution needs to be found before the start of the next school year. The GSA has also encountered problems attracting students from the hinterland particularly, Region Eight.

According to GINA, the current batch of students graduated from the following programmes at GSA institutions across the country: Diploma in Agriculture (Mon Repos), 28 graduates; (Essequibo) five graduates; Diploma in Animal Health and Veterinary Public Health 12 graduates; Certificate in Agriculture, 15 graduates; Certificate in Fisheries, three graduates; Certificate in Forestry (Mon Repos) 23 graduates and (Essequibo) 25 graduates.

The award for Best Overall Performance including in the Diploma in Agriculture (Mon Repos) is Andrew Amin; (Essequibo) Moneshwar Chandrapaul; Certificate in Agriculture, Tawana Patrick; Diploma in Animal Health and Veterinary Public Health, Jamila Morgan; Certificate in Forestry (Mon Repos) Donnica Thornhill; (Essequibo) Melissa Retemiah and Certificate in Fisheries Studies Anthony Seepersaud.

Amin won the Chief Executive Officer’s prize and Melissa Retemiah, the Chairman’s Prize. No student met the criteria for the Gold Medal Prize which is offered to the student who performs outstandingly in the areas of academic and practical work and campus community service.

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