The Agriculture Department within Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) has commenced its scheduled activities for 2019 with a major focus on the resuscitation of agriculture in schools and communities across the region. This was outlined by Regional Agriculture Officer, Deryck Collins who pointed to the two-phase programme, which he explained will focus on the re-establishment of agriculture in secondary schools and community agriculture development.“We’re re-establishing agriculture in the secondary schools and we’re looking at pushing agriculture production in the community,” Collins recently told members of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).He further outlined plans to construct shade houses in several secondary schools along with the provision of necessary farming materials, adding that the process of purchasing seeds, seedlings and materials for shade houses has already started.“We’re looking at the target of 20 shade houses across the region. So far the estimate-based budget allocation is about sixteen and we’re working to meet that twenty target…we’ve met with the schools so the process has been initiated…” Collins said.He further noted that some schools have expressed an interest in poultry and fish rearing as he explained that the Department will try to fulfil a promise of providing assistance. Collins said the Department is also trying to eliminate bottom house slaughtering and has hosted training in this regard in collaboration with the Public Health Ministry’s Veterinary Unit, Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. The initiative, he stated, saw forty-five farmers participating.The Department is also slated to conduct training on sweet pepper agronomy to assist farmers within the region. Collins noted that there are currently farmers in Region 10 engaged in a sweet pepper project with the National Agriculture and Research Institute (NAREI) and this would be of great benefit.Awareness on poultry rearing is also in the pipeline since, according to Collins, farmers have complained of heavy poultry mortality.“What we find is that a lot of persons rear both layers and meat birds but do not take into consideration the disease that attack these birds and a lot of persons are crying out for heavy mortality,” he said.Monthly agricultural training and exchange visits until December and visits to the Berbice, Demerara and Upper Essequibo Rivers every quarter are also on the agenda according to the Agriculture Officer. He noted that this is in an effort to extend the agriculture programme throughout the region in an effort for it to become self-sufficient. The activities of the programme were fully endorsed by RDC Councillors.