"I absolutely reject the notion that agriculture is for subsistence livelihood. Anybody who wants to push that, I say absolutely not!" Guyana's Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy told the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) youth consultation on Tuesday.
Ramsammy told the youth that agriculture must be for entrepreneurship.
"The PS mentioned a word that is becoming popular - agropreneurs. Young people, you and I must say no," Ramsammy said at the event, which forms part of Caribbean Week of Agriculture.
"We ain't want them always to put us in a separate corner. Entrepreneurship is about business and agriculture is the biggest business in the world. So, let us not encourage them.
"Why is it that the guy who invests in a shop, the guy who invests in some manufacturing thing, is an entrepreneur but we can't be entrepreneurs; we've got to be agropreneurs?" Ramsammy said.
"If I was in another place, I would use the language and I would say B.S.! But I can't say the word but all of you know the word. So, in your mind, repeat it; because I am saying to all of them, B.S.!
"We are entrepreneurs and if it is a term good enough for the guy who invests in any other thing, it's good enough for me. So, do not encourage them with that nonsense."
He said young people didn't go into agriculture because "we were taught from young that agriculture is for those who can't go to school, agriculture is for those who can't make it in school, agriculture is for them dunce people.
"But my father wasn't a dunce. If he was a dunce, I couldn't be a doctor," said Ramsammy, a physician and former health minister.
"And, indeed, I was a genius at mathematics. It was my father that thought me mathematics," he said.
He further stated that the Guyana School of Agriculture participants in the consultation were also qualified enough to study at the University of Guyana.
"And so, we have to change this thing. Agriculture is a profession equal to any other profession, whether it is a doctor, engineer or whatever," Ramsammy said.