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News Date: January 12 2017

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Agriculture JC Hutchinson (second right), listens as executive director, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Barton Clarke (third right) explains the purpose of a seed extractor, which was among equipment and supplies donated to the Ministry by CARDI. Also pictured (from left) are Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry; and Agricultural Attaché, Delegation of the European Union in Jamaica, Stefano Cilli. (Photo: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Government’s thrust to increase production of high-quality seeds for agricultural production has been boosted with the acquisition of equipment and supplies valued at more than J$2.5 million.

The items, which include a seed extractor, germination chamber, forceps and Petri dishes, will be used to bolster the Seed Production Facility of the Bodles Research Station in St Catherine.

They were handed over by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), during a ceremony at the Hope Gardens offices of the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, in St Andrew, on January 11.

Minister without Portfolio in the ministry, JC Hutchinson, said the donation will assist with the ministry’s clean seed programme, which provides disease-free planting material for farmers.

“The equipment will aid us on our mission to grow and expand the agricultural sector in Jamaica by boosting the seed-producing capacity at the Bodles Research Station,” he said.

Principal Research Director in the Research Development Division of the ministry, Dr Lisa Myers-Morgan, noted that over the years, the division has been facilitating the production of clean planting material, such as pepper, sorrel and pumpkin.

She suggested that this donation could go towards the development of a germ-plasm repository of seeds to supply not only Jamaica but the region as well.

“With further collaboration with CARDI and other stakeholders, it is expected that we will be able to have this facility available to have this repository of clean planting material that can ably support the development of our agricultural sector,” she said.

In the meantime, Agricultural Attaché, Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Jamaica, Stefano Cilli, informed that since April 2013, the EU, through the Agricultural Policy Programme (APP), has spent more than $1.2 billion to improve the management of plant genetic resources in the region.

“Our support is geared towards increasing the capabilities of regional agricultural development organisations to address the development needs of small producers. To this end, this action will contribute to improving the dissemination and the adoption of applied research and appropriate technologies,” he said.

He noted that this project demonstrates Jamaica’s recognition of the importance of plant genetic resources for agriculture, and the need to develop specific policies in order to exploit these resources and make wider use of them for the resilience of agricultural systems, particularly in the context of economic sustainability.

In his remarks, CARDI’s Executive Director Barton Clarke pledged the agency’s continued support to Jamaica’s agricultural sector.

The initiative was funded by the European Union under the APP of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

The APP is being executed in the Caribbean by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in partnership with CARDI and the Caricom Secretariat.

Three areas are targeted: Policy (Caricom Secretariat); Technology, Research and Development (CARDI); and Agribusiness and Market Access (IICA).

The specific objective is to increase the capability of agricultural development organisations of the Caribbean and Pacific regions to address the development needs of smallholder agriculture, with smallholder producers being the main beneficiaries.

The seed facility currently produces hot pepper, pumpkin and sorrel seeds for sale to farmers.

News Source: Jamaica Observer

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Post Author: Nelzine Brown

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