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Farmers to merge technology and agriculture in Atlantic/UTT Programme


Over the next three months, thirty-nine (39) farmers will explore ways to incorporate computers and technology-driven business practices into their agricultural enterprises.

The 39 will participate in the 9th edition of the annual Atlantic/UTT National Agricultural Enterprise Training Programme, which was launched on October 30 at the Chaguanas campus of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT).

This year’s cohort is made up of experienced and novice agri-entrepreneurs from all across the country including Point Fortin, Sangre Grande and Tobago, with enterprises in livestock, food and root crops, apiculture, aquaculture and hydroponics. The three-month programme will expose participants to interactive courses including Computer Technology for Agricultural Entrepreneurs, Financial Planning for Agriculture, Marketing, and Business Plan Development.

One of this year’s participants is also a current client of the Loan for Enterprise and Network Development (LEND) Agency, a credit facility supported by Atlantic for the start-up and expansion of sustainable micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs in communities from the South-Western region of Trinidad, including Point Fortin, La Brea and Cedros.

Camille Salandy, Atlantic Manager of Sustainability & Corporate Communications explained that the National Agricultural Enterprise Training Programme was designed to help stimulate innovation in the agriculture sector by teaching agri-entrepreneurs to re-envision agricultural practices by use of technology.

“Technology and innovation play an important role in helping countries become more sustainable in the area of agriculture,” Salandy said. “Atlantic is glad that our partnership with UTT on this programme continues to increase the number of ‘tech-savvy’ farmers and other agri-entrepreneurs to make them more strategic and local agriculture more efficient.”

Dr. Zameer Mohammed, UTT’s Assistant Vice-President of Professional Education said that with the United Nations’ forecasts that global population growth and other challenges could put increased strain on global food production, there was a critical need for local agricultural entrepreneurs to join the search for technological solutions.

“All the farmers and agri-entrepreneurs on this technology training programme operate in a complex environment,” Dr.Mohammed said.  “Over the years, we have seen how participants steadily learn how to better manage their respective businesses and introduce new processes.  We look forward to working alongside this year’s cohort to help transform their businesses and by extension the wider agricultural sector.”

In 2010, Atlantic and the University of Trinidad and Tobago partnered to establish the Atlantic/UTT National Agricultural Enterprise Training Programme. To date some 205 agri-business practitioners have participated in the Programme, which aims to arm farmers with technology-driven entrepreneurial tools to meet the challenges facing local and global agribusiness.