In attempt to make Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice a food self-sufficient region, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and Triple ‘C’ Consultancy in collaboration with the Linden Chamber of Industry, Commerce and Development (LCICD) launched an e-agricultural project. The project was launched at the Watooka Guest House last Friday evening under the theme ‘Supporting sustainable agricultural development in Region 10 through the development of youth advocates in agriculture via ICT, Artificial Intelligence and e-agriculture. Representative of Triple ‘C’ Consultancy, Bissasar Chintamanie, in providing an overview of the initiative, explained that the programme will see 10 farmers learning how to use technology to enhance their operations. Horizontal and vertical farming, marketing, climate smart agriculture, and agriculture advocacy are among other areas that will be covered. He said that the first phase of the initiative involves meeting agricultural self-sufficiency in Region 10, while the second phase will see the region becoming an exporter of crops and livestock. Chintamanie stated that the programme is opened to receiving 50 additional persons. On that note, he made a call for organisations to donate 50 devices, such as cellphones and flash drives, to the initiative. The Regional Chairman, Deron Adams, said the council intends to positively impact the lives of farmers within the region. “Farmers need access to readily available information now, if they hope to compete and acquire the knowledge and services that are available virtually especially as we all rethink and retool to be better food secure during this dreaded covid-19 pandemic,” Adams said. He expressed the hope that once the project is completed, the beneficiaries will use the skills and knowledge acquired to inspire others. “It’s my hope that the participants will be a positive advocate for this programme, since they are each armed with the knowledge, tools and methodologies to teach their peers,” he said. According to Chairman of the Agricultural Committee, Region 10, Mark Goring, including Information Communication Technology (ICT) in agriculture will attract young agriculturists while, promoting the craft among all the young people in the region. Goring noted that although youths may not be interested in traditional agriculture, he is confident that including ICT into the sector will change the attitude of young people while motivating them to get involved. He shared that it is the council’s goal to reduce the import of crops and livestock by 20 to 25 per cent in the next five years. “In 2021, we are looking to pilot other programmes in the area of livestock production, crop production and apiculture. Linden will not just be a mining town but it will also be advanced in agriculture whereby we can start exporting out of the region and Guyana,” he said. The 10 farmers were presented with tools including phones and book bags that will be of use to them during the training.