The Klay Agriculture Vocational Training Center (KAVTC) has commenced its second training cycle for 2015/16, with optimistic trainees saying they are here to gain needed skills that will project them into the future.
De-stumping a two-hectare swamp land to layout a rice field, a group of enthusiastic participants counted themselves lucky to be at the center. They are happy to be at KAVTC because it would help them do something useful for themselves, they said in a chorus, when asked as to how they were faring at the center. “We are proud to come for this (general agriculture) training because our country looks up to us to help produce food for its population.
After learning here, we will be in the position to do just that,” said Decontee Johnson, leader of the group. She added: “We encourage our colleagues outside of KAVTC, especially young girls, to join us. We all have to be on our feet to do something (worthwhile) for our future and our country.” Another group of trainees, transplanting vegetables a few yards away, echoed similar interests. Said their leader, David Konneh, “We have passion for the training program, that’s why we are here. We love the teaching. In fact, after the class-room presentations by our instructors, our on-the-field performances show that we are on top of our learning. In addition to the swamp being prepared, there is a 24-acrea slashed and burned field ready to be planted with upland rice, cassava, okra, and other food crops. KAVTC director Fredrick Massaquoi told a group of reporters that work would start on the upland beginning the second week of April 2016, pending the availability of planting materials, which he said would arrive soon. Massaquoi said the current batch of 75 trainees is showing every sign of readiness not to “gain knowledge only, but also to produce fruits” during their stay at the center. The trainees’ instructors told reporters that their students’ eagerness to learn had given them the “motivation” to put in more teaching hours than required.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports-run KAVTC’s last term graduated 110 students after teaching them the theory and practice of general agriculture: Vegetable Production, Food Crop Production, Tree Crop Production, and Animal Husbandry – including piggery, poultry and fishery. Director Massaquoi disclosed that through the ministry’s instrumentality, majority of the graduates are now absorbed by LACE (Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment), while the others are engaged in self-faming and gardening. The ministry is, meanwhile seeking support, particularly planting materials and tools, from its development partners and other stakeholders in the youth sector to enhance training at the center.