The Division of Adult and Continuing Education within the Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation and Ecclesiastical affairs, has spearheaded a mission to improve cocoa and other fruit production in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Through a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Regional Integration, the Division has embarked on an academic partnership with the National Learning Services of Columbia, SENA.
SENA is one of the most important centers of technical and technological education in Latin America. The partnership, which had been forged for over a year, is now on its second leg, following an initial visit by a Vincentian contingent to SENA, Colombia in September 2016.
On Friday 19th May, representatives from SENA concluded a week-long technical visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to ascertain the current state of the local fruit and cocoa industry, and to provide adequate recommendations on how to improve the overall production process.
At a media briefing held at the Ministry of Agriculture’s conference room, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Saboto Caesar, said that he is pleased with the new initiative that is well in line with the goals of optimizing the value of commodities produced in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government and people of Colombia for their assistance to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and stakeholders in the Agricultural sector as it pertains to us moving in the direction of value addition.”
“Over the past days, the delegation went to speak with several stakeholders in the sector; to farmers and persons in the Agricultural sector from the standpoint of marketing and also production, and they have compiled a comprehensive project that will guide us in the short to medium term as it pertains to value addition.”
Minister Caesar also commended the Colombian delegation for their commitment to the initiative, noting that “not only did they train us in Colombia but they have come to Saint Vincent for a field visit in order to properly assess our landscape so that they can better informed.”
Through the SENA initiative a new training programme will be tailored to address deficiencies in the production processes identified by this diagnostic exercise and are expected to be formalized and implemented by August this year.