St. Kitts College To Hold Agribusiness Workshop

CFBC Vice Principal - Dr. Leighton Naraine

CFBC Vice Principal – Dr. Leighton Naraine

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
June 20, 2012 (SKNIS)

Students entering the new degree programme in Agricultural Studies at Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College will get a jump-start on their schoolwork through an agribusiness workshop offered jointly by the CFBC and University of Central Florida (UCF).

Organized as part of the annual UCF President’s Scholars summer study abroad and service learning programme, the workshop will run from June 26- 28 and feature practical sessions on developing an enterprise concept, conducting market research, estimating financial projections, and putting the pieces together into a successful business plan.   The business plan would be customized with an agricultural system model of input factors including social, economic, technological, and environmental, decision making, and outputs.  The programme will showcase local speakers, including an organic farmer from Sandy Point, an official from the St. Kitts Agriculture Department, and a business/entrepreneurial specialist from the Eastern Caribbean Development Bank.

Dr. Leighton Naraine, Science Lecturer and Vice Principal at CFBC and local partner for the UCF summer programme, stressed the importance of the workshop in light of the central role that the agribusiness development will play in this new degree programme.

“We see agriculture as a modern business opportunity for young people in St. Kitts and Nevis, especially when it comes to agro-processing techniques that can add value to basic produce items,” Dr. Naraine said.

He also pointed out the value for students in the new Agricultural Studies program in gaining early exposure to the nuts and bolts of business development.

“While our programme has three tracks -Agribusiness, Agrotechnology, and Agricultural Science-, students from all three tracks have to complete a practical capstone project in order to graduate.  This workshop gives the incoming class a chance to learn about the range of business opportunities available in the agricultural sector, hear from local experts about agro-processing, business planning and financing options, and most importantly develop an enterprise concept and business plan that they can pursue as part of their studies.”

Practical workshop sessions will be directed by honors students from UCF majoring in political science, sociology, business, English, and journalism.   In preparation for the workshop, the Florida students attended sessions in business plan writing and business start-up basics at the UCF Small Business Development Center. They also received training in business development software, and developed a curriculum based on last year’s workshop for youth entrepreneur that was tailored specifically to incubate projects in the agricultural sector.

The UCF President’s Scholar’s program is organized by Dr. Martin Dupuis, Associate Dean of the Burnett Honors College, and Dr. Kevin Meehan of UCF, who has been a visiting professor at CFBC since January, 2011.   The program has been coming to the Federation every summer since 2008 with a group of honors students who spend two weeks learning about local history, culture, and environmental issues, while working shoulder to shoulder with Kittitian and Nevisian partners on service learning projects.  Previous service activities have focused on public health, marine resource public awareness, oral history, school refurbishments in Mansion and Sandy Point, youth entrepreneurship, and more.   All the service projects for 2012 are focused on agriculture, building on a recent flurry of activity in St. Kitts and Nevis that has been heralded as an agricultural renaissance.   In addition to the agribusiness workshop, UCF students will install a state of the art shade house on the CFBC campus, pilot a nutrition and diet profile survey in community health clinics, and conduct a two-day oral history project on agricultural methods in Nevis.

Students from high schools, agriculturalists and farmers, youth groups, and others with an interest in agriculture are welcome to enroll for the free workshop.

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