Roxborough youth farmers get hydroponics boost

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The recently upgraded hydroponics farm at the Roxborough Police Youth Club headquarters. –

THE Roxborough Police Youth Club recently expanded and remodelled its hydroponics greenhouse with the help of the Digicel Foundation. The launch of the upgraded greenhouse took place on April 29 and is seen as a step forward for agriculture on the island. The aim is to improve the diversification of the Tobago economy, with more and more organisations exploring small and medium-size enterprises to complement their community outreach.

Through a grant of $100,000 from the Digicel Foundation’s EPIC programme, the hydroponics farm at the Police Youth Club headquarters upgraded and installed five 1,000 gallon water tanks for rain water harvesting. The greenhouse contains three types of hydroponics – nutrient film technique (NFT), floating raft and a drip system.

President of the Tobago Agricultural Society, Dedan Daniel, expressed his pleasure in the project. “Incorporating technology into agriculture makes it a more appealing industry for youth farmers,” Daniel noted. “The farming population in Tobago is ageing, but ventures like these can encourage more young people to get into the agriculture industry.”

Thirty young farmers will directly benefit from the training and will have an opportunity to utilise a produce cycle and earn income from sales. The greenhouse has the capacity to produce almost 3,000 short crops and complements the other agricultural initiatives and entrepreneurial activities at the youth club.

Through the hydroponics system, the Roxborough Police Youth Club will engage local hotels and restaurants to supply fresh produce, as well as the Roxborough Hospital. The youth club is one of four non-profit organisations in Tobago to receive EPIC grant funding from the Digicel Foundation earlier this year. The EPIC investment in Tobago for the last financial year was at TT$450,000.