Through the directive of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, will soon offer quality education and training within the agriculture industry this Fall.

Chairman for the Agricultural Advisory Committee, Mr. William Georges has said that the committee has been working feverishly in the discharge of the mandate by the Government of the Virgin Islands.

Mr. Georges said, “The committee welcomes the opportunity to serve the Government, HLSCC, and the wider community, especially the farming community by advising and assisting the college in offering a programme of initial training in agriculture for interested persons.”

He further added, “The programme being developed will not only widen the scope of the college’s offerings to students but will also increase training available to agricultural producers.”

The proposed training, which will be conducted on the College’s campus in Paraquita Bay, will consist of classroom instructions and field demonstrations including hands-on training.

The training will provide participants with the theoretical background in modern agricultural practices, as well as practical training in the farm environment, taking into account the responsibility for preserving the environment.

Participants will be required to successfully complete a minimum of three courses, consisting of two in Crops and Animal Production and one in Farming Business to complete the training. Participants may enrol in at least one course at a time, choosing the time and sequence of courses at their convenience.

Participants will be assessed in each course and will be certified on successful completion of the programme requirements. Certified persons may enroll for up to three additional courses offered to obtain further training. Certified persons will also be designated by the Department of Agriculture as ‘Certified Farmers’ and may receive the benefits and privileges from the Department, as may be determined from time to time.

Vice President of Academic Affairs at HLSCC, Dr. Arlene Smith-Thompson expressed that as the programme is developed, depending on particular response and interest, additional courses at a higher level with greater academic rigor may be included. In this case, she added, certified participants will have opportunities to advance their training.

The programme, which is expected to roll-out in November 2021, will explore financial assistance opportunities that can be available to students.

The Agricultural Advisory Committee was established to advise the College on providing guidance regarding the delivery of any offerings of training, research and/or certification in agriculture. The committee is also responsible for reviewing past programming and future proposals related to agriculture and make recommendations regarding the College’s offerings in agriculture in line with the Territory’s needs and expectations. The Committee, which is chaired by William Georges, a retired Agricultural Scientist, represents a broad spectrum of expertise, experience, and perspectives in agriculture as it relates to the Virgin Islands. Other members of the Committee include:

• College officials – Dr. Arlene Smith-Thompson; Mrs. Marva Wheatley-Dawson,

and Mrs. Veronique Forbes-King;

• Ministry officials – Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt Igwe and Mrs. Tessa Smith-Claxton;

• Department of Agriculture and Fisheries officials – Mr. Theodore James, Mr.

Orville Clarke, Dr. Latisha Martin and Ms. Lesley Maduro;

• Farming community – Mrs. Arona Fahie-Forbes and Ms. Nea Talbot; and the

• Wholesale industry – Mr. Neil Hayes.