I always had a love for agriculture, as young as five years I had some rabbits and a few crops. From then I planted crops over the years till 2011, when I tried to raise some chickens. My name is Randy Anthony Belgrave. I am 35 and I from Barbados.
In July 2015 I joined the Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship Incubator Programme (YAIP), put on by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management.
Then, I had a basic idea of farming. The YAIP has increased my knowledge at so many levels, especially in area on organic farming and organic pesticides. During my time as a participant, I focused on the science and technology, organic farming, research methods, business, marketing, and accounting.
This help me to see agriculture more as agri-business and changed my mindset from just seeing it as a hoe and fork, hot sun job.
As a young agriculturalist, I am more inclined towards the application of scientific principles, modern techniques and innovative technologies, to the development of commercially viable solutions to complex problems that would transform agriculture into a more competitive sector.
From participating in the programme, I gain mentors and connections from networking with the facilitators and other interesting person I have met.
I have evolved from this programme and now, as an Ambassador, I will continue developing by working with others.
Stemming from the programme, I was fortunate enough to attend conferences and workshops, such as the 2015 Annual Caribbean Sustainable Livelihoods and Youth Entrepreneurship Conference, which was held in Grenada.
While attending the conference, session such as the mentoring, think tank and panel discussions, helped deepen by love for agriculture and explore my ideas and dreams with more determination, and I was also named Peace Ambassador.
Another workshop I had the pleasure to attend was CTA: Caribbean Pacific Agri-Food Forum and BRIDGE SEED Entrepreneurship Training Workshop.
Aquaponics Farming and Systems
My plan as a crop farmer is to change the way I currently grow my produce, from a soil to water.
During the programme I visited an aquaponics Farm where I have developed a passion for this type of farming. After doing my own research outside the classroom, aquaponics farming uses a tenth of water compared to traditional farming and seeing that climate change is huge problem globally, water harvesting management is critically in this time.
Here, in Barbados, we have our share of water issue and the aquaponics farming provides the opportunity to grow above ground, which maximizes space, as well as saves water.
I will like to design small backyard aquaponics system, which will be for families, or individuals who live in areas with limited space like rural developments and high rising apartments and also to engage children in agriculture.
Over the years I have always seen children love for fish and I know this type of farming technique will get them very interested in farming and this is needed now more than ever.
For the last ten years rainfall has decreased, as I mention before that an aquaponics system use less of the water than in traditional farming.
The USD 5,000 would go to building ten mini backyard aquaponics system in the next four month with estimated cost of USD 500 per system. Below is list of materials needed to get me started:
- 10 Full Length 2″ inch pipe
- 10 Full Length ½ inch pipe
- 5 big bottles of plumbers cement (aquarium safe PVC cement)
- 5 big bottles of plumbers cleaner (aquarium safe PVC cleaner)
- 2 knives or hacksaw for cutting PCV pipe
- 80 elbows and bends (2″ inch and ½ ” inch)
- 1 full kit electrical drill
- 10 plastic containers 22″ × 15″ (holds 55 litres of water)
- 10 aquarium water and air pumps
In conclusion, your help will bring my business ideas closer to reality and bring agriculture to the forefront of entrepreneurship. Taking this exciting opportunity would lead to unlimited economic growth, strengthening our food security and address some health issue.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Randy Anthony Belgrave (Barbados): belgraverandy[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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