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Ministry of Agriculture of Costa Rica creates School for Rural Leaders with support from IICA

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The launch of the School for Rural Leaders was attended by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica, Laura Bonilla (centre), and the IICA Representative in Costa Rica, Miguel Arvelo, among other officials from both institutions.

San Jose, 9 September 2022 (IICA) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) of Costa Rica and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) have created a School for Rural Leaders in that country. The school will build up the technical and soft skills of rural youth with a view to driving development in their communities and advancing towards greater food security and sustainability.

The school was inaugurated at Centro Cívico de Guápiles, in the Caribbean province of Limón. In attendance were the President of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves Robles; the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Laura Bonilla; and IICA’s Representative in the country, Miguel Arvelo.

A total of 60 young men and women between the ages of 16 and 30 and from different regions of the country will participate in the first phase of the initiative. By December 2022, the school is expected to have trained 110 individuals.

The school will apply the “learning by doing” teaching methodology, which has been validated for years by IICA and has great potential to be replicated and scaled up.

“Your creative and technological skills will enable you not only to extract products from the land—which you will sell in different markets and, hopefully, even beyond our borders—but also to fulfill dreams and opportunities for the benefit of your families and future partners and collaborators in your undertakings”, said Rodrigo Chaves as he addressed youth.

“Our goal is to train this millennium’s new farmers, by selecting youth from various regions across the country. We are going to strengthen their skills and knowledge, providing them with tools to bolster their participation in making the agriculture sector more competitive and sustainable”, explained Minister Bonilla.

According to Miguel Arvelo, the idea is to strengthen the capacities of young rural people, with special emphasis on women studying at professional technical schools, “as well as the children of farmers or young people involved in agricultural chambers or associations of agricultural producers”.

In addition to strengthening their technical knowledge of agricultural matters, those participating in the School of Rural Leaders will learn about leadership and teamwork; improve their soft skills; as well as acquire useful knowledge to facilitate decision-making processes or the generation of practical solutions to address challenges in their communities.

The training process, which will begin this month, will be divided into three modules: digital agriculture, agricultural resilience and entrepreneurship.

The first group of beneficiaries was selected through MAG’s regional extension offices. The participants are from Costa Rican communities with considerable development needs.

The participants will acquire skills in electronic prototyping, 3D printing, drone flying, sustainable management of natural resources, business and marketing, among other topics.

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Institutional Communication Division