As early as September 2013, the National Initiative to Create Employment (NICE) will formalize a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Production, Fisheries and Rural Development to launch the Farm Labor Support Program (FLSP), which is designed to stimulate the Agricultural Sector. This will be undertaken through the utilization of specially trained and skilled personnel to work on those farms that have been dormant, inactive or underdeveloped; or have been forced to close within the past six (6) months or longer, due to the unavailability of skilled labour and/or the high cost of production.
In its initial phase, the program will target 150 young people who have an interest in Agriculture and more specifically, farming. But must one have a background or experience in the industry to qualify for this program? “Not necessarily,” explains Perry Thomas, Project Coordinator with the NICE Project. “Having experience in the Sector is seen more as an asset than a requirement. This Program is designed to provide all selected participants with specialized technical training which will enable them to better serve the farms on which they work.” Thomas describes the training as ‘holistic’, as there will also be a focus on productivity enhancement. Resources for the 3-month training component of this Program will be pulled from the NSDC as well as the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Farm Labor Support Program, which is yet another undertaking by the NICE PMU, will run for an initial period of one year in the 5 agricultural regions of Babonneau, Dennery, Micoud and the South/Southwestern regions of Canelles to River Doree and Canaries. It is anticipated that the re-activation of non-operational farms will not only enhance employment opportunities within the Sector, but will inevitably contribute to the decrease in the island’s high food import bill.
Interested applicants can complete an application form on www.nicejobs.govt.lc or visit the NICE Office at the Blue Coral Building on Bridge Street in Castries.