When Trinidadian tech support specialist Nikcolai Salandy lost his job with a Miami brokerage firm last July, he shelved his dreams of a career in finance to focus on a different type of investment: a greenhouse to cultivate mushrooms, dragon fruit and microgreens. Salandy is planning to build a 3,000-square-foot facility on family land in the town of Petit Valley outside the capital of Port of Spain, where he grew vegetables as a hobby during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first thing I planted was tomatoes. That wasn’t too successful, but that was the trigger to learn more about farming,” said Salandy. He attends daily government-sponsored training sessions on shade house production. “I expanded how much land that I used for farming itself and just delved a little deeper into the whole career.”

Hunger in the Caribbean region spiked in 2022, with some 4.1 million people—or 57% of the English-speaking Caribbean—reporting food insecurity, according to a study by the World Food Programme and CARICOM. The ambitious plan known as “Twenty-Five by 2025” aims to lower the food import bill by one quarter by 2025, partly by supporting budding agricultural entrepreneurs like Salandy.

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