Supporting Youth in Agriculture

Students, principal and a WHYFARM representative harvesting sweet potato planted at the San Fernando TML Primary School. (Photo courtesy: WHYFARM)

We Help You-th FARM (WHYFARM) is a non-profit organisation, originating in Trinidad and Tobago, established to “help counter the challenges relating to food insecurity in communities around the world, by providing young men and women with the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize opportunities in the agricultural sector.”

 

CARDI Trinidad and Tobago Unit was pleased to have helped WHYFARM establish a 96 square foot sweet potato plot at the San Fernando, TML Primary School. This was part of the “Plant your Plate” initiative of the South West Regional Health Authority’s Health and Dietetic Department, where the produce grown will go back to the hospitals to feed patients. This move supplements patients’ diets with healthier, wholesome foods while decreasing the hospital’s food bill.

 

CARDI donated the sweet potato cuttings from a mass-produced batch, which was originally sourced from the well-known sweet potato farmer and breeder, Mr Ramdeo Boondoo. In early March, the standard two pupils of the school learnt about the production of this local staple and actively participated in establishing the crop. The school plot was established with two unusual but tasty cultivars, White-UBW1 and Purple-UBP1.

 

CARDI also provided technical advice on improved production practices such as appropriate plant spacing, pre-plant treatment and harvest indicators. The use of pesticides, was limited due to the exposure of the plot to children. These recommendations, along with the support of WHYFARM and teachers, aided the students with the knowledge to conduct best practices and have the healthiest harvest possible. In July, although crop care was affected by the COVID 19 restrictions which saw schools closed for an extended period, 152 pounds of sweet potato were harvested from the plot.

 

CARDI is proud to be part of this venture as we continue to support youth activities in agriculture.

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