6th ANNUAL CARIBBEAN CONFERENCE
Two young entrepreneurs were selected to represent the GARD Center at this important regional conference which was held in Jamaica, from 9 – 11 December 2013. The Antiguan Delegation of Mr. Winston Laville and Ms. Waszara Mack were part of a four (4) member panel who represented our country in the panel discussion, Youth Entrepreneurs: Young Agripreneurs – Lessons Learnt: Challenges, Successes and the way Forward.
Issues discussed included the challenges faced by youth in setting up businesses; successes gained through steadfastness and diligence, and the accomplishment of goals. Also discussed was the ‘way forward’ stepping stones for the future, and the importance of the Caribbean people networking with each other to assure produce circulates among the region for the betterment of trade.
Mrs. Melida Harris – Barrow, President of the NIC-ETH Productions and AfroLatinoMagazine, offered free advertisement to the entrepreneurs who were present, giving them an opportunity to advertise themselves and their respective businesses worldwide.
Other panel discussions covered interesting topics, such as, advancing food security, women entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education to name a few. After each session, there was a Questions and Answers section.
The Field Dialogue Research was set up so that three groups: one group to the market place in Linstead, the other in Bog Walk and the third group visited a farm. Each group conducted a survey of the entrepreneurs they met to better understand more about them. Why they chose that type of business and how they started their business were some of the questions asked during the research. After such, each group had to analyse the information, discuss among themselves and make a group presentation of their findings.
After that event there was a field trip at a broiler farm which was a huge and fully mechanised facility which houses thousands upon thousands of birds. The facility didn’t have any birds, for they were cleaning up for the next batch of birds to come in. On investigation of the farm, it was found that the bird’s faeces are collected and sold to farmers as manure. This inspired the livestock farmers who were present on the trip.
Also there were goat and pig pens, which housed the biggest pigs ever in those pens on the farm. They also had a crop section where they planted corn, pigeon peas, sorrel and pineapple.
On the final day of the conference, those present were exposed to a competition going on offering grant funding for proposals that demonstrate exceptional potential impact on the environment. Concepts of the fund include, sustainable agribusiness, water management, (including waste water), energy efficiency solar energy and resource use. The day’s proceedings ended with the sale of exhibition items and the taking of pictures, while the night ended with a highly anticipated dinner and award ceremony.