Local farmers to receive further training

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Phase two of the Commonwealth for Learning (COL) Lifelong Learning for Farmers will begin today with a series of lectures designed to expose farmers to practical skills that would make them efficient in the field.
A partnership with the British High Commission, the ministries of agriculture and social transformation resulted in similar training last year and Owolabi Elabanjo, senior agriculture extension officer in the agriculture ministry, said things have been going well for the farmers who were trained in all of the five agricultural districts.
“Based on the reports that we have written, they have agreed to give us further funding. The participants will have an opportunity to come to the media to discuss the business of agriculture in Antigua; to discuss their feelings; how they can implement and how it can sustain agriculture and get more young people involved,” he said.
Elabanjo said the sector should be treated with the importance it deserves and not as a last resort and temporary filler for those lacking skills or who have been laid off from their jobs.
During last year’s session, Elabanjo added that telecommunication companies, financial lending institutions and other corporate and government agencies were engaged to see how best they can assist in making the lives of farmers easier. He said those partners will be engaged again.
“They were able to come on board with us to help and educate our farmers about the business of agriculture, in subject areas such as money management, savings, business plans, writing and following up communication and the use of technology in many areas of their farms to include production and planning,” Elabanjo said.
Lectures will be held from today, 5 p.m. at the Agricultural Extension Office on Kentish Road. Similar sessions will take place, the same time on Wednesdays at Bolans
Primary School, followed seminars on  Thursdays
at the Bethesda nursery school.
At the end of phase two, several farmers will be selected to write business proposals on a production plan for one commodity and Elabanjo said the agricultural ministry will assist the winning farmer in implementing the idea.
The Lifelong Learning for Farmers is an initiative aimed at establishing continuous learning among marginalised farming communities, particularly women, leading to improved knowledge, empowerment and sustainable livelihoods.
The model embodies a multi-dimensional approach to human resource development, that holistically integrates social capital, financial capital and human capital to spiral a self-sustaining and self-replicating development process. 

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