The Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu with the Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports Alison Burchell together with graduates at Nasau Youth Training Centre. Photo: DEPTFO.
Ten agricultural farmers today graduated from the Ministry of Youth and Sports Training Centre in Nasau Sigatoka, ready to begin the next phase of their lives and venture into commercial farming.
The Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu while officiating at the graduation ceremony reminded the youths on the important task ahead.
“You have completed your training and now you enter the real world to become very successful, however this will depend on your commitment to your profession,” Minister Seruiratu said.
“Farming has evolved from science into management, finance, leadership and business. It can no longer be seen as just another profession to fall into after avenues have run out. To be a commercial farmer today involves a good mixture of entrepreneurial skills due to the mixture of information required to be able to keep up with the demands of the market.”
Minister Seruiratu said Government remained committed towards the empowerment of youths through building capacity, knowledge and skills of young Fijian people. This is done through training as a way forward to tackle the general lack of interest by youths in active commercial agriculture production.
“Farming provides employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for youth. We need to identify and take ownership of the resources we own and maximize the opportunities provided by Government through its various Ministries,” Minister Seruiratu said.
“I sincerely hope the training received today at the Nasau Training Centre have equipped students with the necessary practical farming skills and management knowledge to assist them, should they venture into active commercial agriculture production.”
A significant number of youths from around the country have benefitted from the training programmes offered by the training centre since its inception in the 1970s, aiming to train youths in organic farming and basic agriculture skills.
“One of the areas of particular interest to me where Fijian farmers could tap into is Organic Agriculture which has the potential to become a big money earner for Fijian farmers and exporters alike due to its high demand in the international markets,” Minister Seruiratu said.
The training offered at the Nasau Training Centre is consistent with the Government’s objective of commercializing the agriculture subsistence subsector.