SIAH shares job opportunities |04 August 2023
The Seychelles Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture (SIAH) held an informative session at the University of Seychelles yesterday morning to create a platform for A-Level students to explore the different job opportunities available in the agriculture and horticultural sectors and showcase programmes on offer at SIAH.
The talk got under way with a presentation by Kiran Greedarry, a lecturer from SIAH, who outlined the institution’s programme.
He explained the entry requirement for a diploma for sustainable agriculture programme, which is a ‘C’ or better in IGCSE Mathematics, English as a second language and Biology, Chemistry and Physics. For A-Level students, the minimum entry grade is ‘E’ in one of the required subjects, English, Mathematics and any science subjects.
Mr Greedarry explained that these subjects, such as mathematics are vital in the understanding of the programme. “We have plant science and we have animal science, so you will see a lot of the scientific aspect of it,” he stated.
He gave a summary of how the programme will work, citing that it is for three years. For the first year there will be agriculture and sustainable development, agricultural policy and development in Seychelles, agricultural mechanisation among others.
As for the second year, which is also compulsory, there will be agro-ecology, agricultural marketing and supply chain management, soil and sustainable agricultural development among others.
For the third and final year, some of the courses will be livestock production system and sustainable development, farming system, agro-processing and agri-business and entrepreneurship and a lot more.
During his presentation, Mr Greedarry talked about the various career pathways that one can take in the field of agriculture and horticulture, explaining that a student with a certificate can either go straight to employment or go for their advanced certificate, whereby they can get their diploma and go for a degree or go straight to employment.
He also talked about the careers which one could potentially have after their diploma in sustainable agriculture. There are two sections, which includes crops and livestock.
Also present to share her experience was Jennifer Lesperance, an extension officer from the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA), who works mainly with farmers.
Miss Lesperance went through the various hierarchal structures within the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment to highlight the job opportunities in the agriculture sector, including a section dedicated to policy planning, research and monitoring.
She noted that extension officers mostly visit farms based on their requests and she was happy to be part of the team, as she was among the officers that make business plans for farms that apply for a loan.
“Many people think that within our department you are only working with farms and farmers but that is not true, there are lots of positions in the agriculture sector,” she stated.
Chief Bio-security Officer and former SIAH learner, Randy Stravens, did a motivational talk on the perks of joining SIAH and getting into the world of agriculture.
He admitted that agriculture was not his first choice as he always had an interest in health.
However, his inspiration for agriculture came when he was attending the former National Youth Service back in 1992.
“Agriculture was one of the main activities during this time. When my colleague and I were cleaning outside, we were looking for a tomato to cook but did not find any. Someone told us it was because there was disease that killed it,” he said.
He found two important aspects, the business component and the nature aspect of agriculture, and that all fell under an umbrella that creates an economy for the country.
When he entered the world of agriculture, Mr Stravens said he entered as assistant field technician and did an overseas training in Reunion Island.
He explained to the students that he did not occupy only one post in the agricultural sector and instead occupied various other posts which were involved with agriculture. Eventually his interest lay in plant protection also known as bio-security services.
Another speaker was a young farmer, Lester Underwood, who explained that when he entered the world of farming and agriculture, it was non comparable to any other. He talked about the business aspect of agriculture and how it surprisingly brings in a lot of money. He cited that he once grew a notably difficult plant to grow, and he ended up ranking R15,000 from that alone.
He took this as an inspiration and pursued a way into making it a sustainable business as farming. “When I first started, truth be told there were a lot of challenges, but you have to persevere and you will face defeat but you have to overcome that and start again,” he concluded.
Photos by Yann Dinan