Youth Development and National Service Minister Foster Cummings said the department had launched a Youth Farming Family Program (YAHP) for people aged 18-35 to improve self-sufficiency of the country in terms of food production.
During the program orientation on Friday, at the Government Campus Plaza Auditorium, Richmond Street, Port of Spain, Cummings said he received 1,400 applications but, due to space, he could only accommodate 200.
He added that YAHP will become an annual program and hopes it will grow to give more interested people a chance.
He said the ministry’s goals are to provide job and housing security, as candidates will also receive a first home on “two acres of fertile land” if they complete the two-year program.
For the first year, Cummings explained, YAHP applicants will be required to take courses provided by the University of TT (UTT) and urged them to attend all classes as their progress will be monitored and assessed by the ministry.
In the second year, students will have a practical field assessment, and upon completion they will receive a lease allowing them access to land, a house, a shed to sell their products and a grant of 20,000 $.
The department’s legal research officer, Brian Garcia, said if students cannot proceed with the program for “unjustifiable reasons”, they will have to pay $8,000 in tuition.
Cummings said entities such as UTT and the Ministries of Housing and Urban Development (Land Settlement Agency), Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries and Education have helped make the program a reality.
Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly congratulated the participants and told them that the opportunity given to them was significant as it offers entrepreneurial skills in a “renewable and honorable” career. She said she hopes no contestant drops out and follows the program through to the end.
Agriculture Minister Nigel De Freitas added that he has no doubts that applicants will leave the program as successful business owners and continue to work with the other partners to ensure this.
Housing Minister Adrian Leonce said trainees should learn as much as possible and put their future and that of the country first.
Cummings also said his ministry is committed to creating safe spaces in communities and peaceful communities and environments, and is reopening youth learning and development centers and national service complexes and development centers. non-residential youth to ensure that wherever young people want to improve in a safe and reliable environment, they can.
Speaking to the media, Cummings said the Ministries of Education, Youth Development and National Service, Social Development, Gender and Children and National Security were working on solutions to eradicate the violence in schools.