Purpose: Given the ageing farming population in the Caribbean and the importance of agriculture to economy, there is cause for concern about the future of farming. This study seeks to explore the extent to which students pursuing agriculture in secondary schools in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) were likely to engage in farming as well as their views on the incentives and disincentives to their future participation. Design/methodology/approach: The sample (n=109) was drawn from the population of students studying 'Agriscience' in secondary schools in SVG. They were surveyed using a pre-tested self-reporting instrument that elicited responses to questions related to the study objectives. Findings: The results showed that the majority of young persons (78.3%) expressed an aspiration to pursue a career in food production in the next five years. The perceived major incentives were to 'get additional income', to 'change the nature of present farming' and exposure to 'studying agricultural science at school'. The major disincentive was perceived as 'lack of government support for youth in agriculture'. The study concluded that there is hope for the future of agriculture once appropriate actions are taken by the government to deal with the issues identified. Practical implication: A policy shift in education is therefore required to ensure all secondary schools teach agriculture. Further, the education and agricultural extension departments could, together, play a major role by serving as the vehicles to mobilize youth in agriculture in addition to providing them with sound, up-to-date training, and information on how to access resources. However, these services will have to modernize the methods and techniques employed for the dissemination of information to meet the needs of youth. Originality/value: This study points to the need to foster increased synergies between education and agriculture extension. Acting together, they can become the primary enablers of positive change in the development of young people's perceptions and attitudes towards agriculture, ultimately favoring their entry into the agriculture industry.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)