Youth, jobseekers urged to consider careers in agriculture

Jobseekers, youth reminded that agriculture is more than working in a field

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — A regional non-profit wants to encourage more Caribbean jobseekers, and especially young people, to pursue jobs in agriculture.

The Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) made the appeal recently while speaking to media organization Barbados Today.

According to a CYEN survey of high school students, most of the youth who will be entering the workforce in the near future are not interested in jobs in agriculture.

jobs in agriculture

There is still a lot of stigma around agriculture jobs in the Caribbean. (Photo by Simon Ray on Unsplash)

They attributed this to continued stigma surrounding the field.

CYEN Local Coordinator Shannon Weekes said: “There is still a negative connotation to agriculture and the work that needs to be put into it.”

However, she expressed optimism that if more people in the Caribbean were exposed to the wide range of career possibilities within agriculture, they would be more open to working in the industry.

Indeed, even corporate roles like Sustainability Consultants and Environmental Lawyers are on a sharp rise around the world, with jobs in agriculture and the green economy expected to balloon to more than 100 million by 2030.

“It’s not only about going out there in the field and ploughing by hand,” Weekes noted.

She added, “If we could have more career showcases to show the different aspects of the agricultural sector and how people can get involved, we would have more young people being interested in having a career in the agricultural sector.”

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    Agriculture jobs also encouraged in Jamaica

    Meanwhile, similar statements were made by a Jamaican minister of state, who encouraged more people to get involved in the “viable and honourable” agriculture industry.

    jobs in agriculture

    Traditional farming jobs in Jamaica are doing well. (Photo by Soo Ann Woon on Pexels)

    Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining Franklin Witter spoke directly to the more traditional aspects of agriculture, like farming, but expressed confidence that stigma surrounding farming jobs is on the decline — at least in Jamaica.

    “There is a clear indication that our farmers in this region, and by extension the entire Jamaica, are now looking at farming as big business…something that will enhance their livelihoods,” he said.

    He said this is evidenced in the fact that more Jamaicans are venturing into the field, both figuratively and literally.

    “There was a time when the perception was that farming was simply about an old man in a straw hat carrying a machete,” Witter noted.

    “What we are seeing today is a different picture.

    “The average age of farmers has now moved down from 71 to 45 years old, and this is way above the average right across the world…

    “Today, farming is done by men, women, youth and even people with disabilities.”

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