Caribbean strength­ens re­search ex­change with Pa­cific

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and For­eign Trade Se­na­tor Kam­ina John­son Smith. NINE PA­CIFIC Is­land re­searchers and ex­ten­sion of­fi­cers are in Ja­maica par­tic­i­pat­ing in a two-week learn­ing ex­change pro­gramme which will also see them vis­it­ing Trinidad.

The ex­change, which started on Oc­to­ber 9 and ends on Oc­to­ber 27, is the third of a se­ries of ‘south-south’ ini­tia­tives for knowl­edge shar­ing and learn­ing across the two re­gions. It fol­lows two pre­vi­ous at­tach­ments by Caribbean re­searchers and ex­ten­sion of­fi­cers with the Pa­cific Com­mu­nity (SPC)’s Cen­tre for Pa­cific Crops and Trees in Suva, Fiji in 2015 and 2016, re­spec­tively.

Over the past week, ex­ten­sion of­fi­cers from Van­u­atu, Samoa, Pa­pua New Guinea, Fiji and the Pa­cific Com­mu­nity have been getting hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence on prac­tices cov­er­ing sta­ple crops such as yams, dasheen (taro), co­coyam (xan­tho­soma) and sweet pota­toes.

This ex­change is hosted by the Caribbean Agri­cul­ture Re­search and Devel­op­ment In­sti­tute and sup­ported by the Tech­ni­cal Cen­tre for Agri­cul­tural and Ru­ral Co­op­er­a­tion, and the SPC through the Euro­pean Union­sup­ported Agri­cul­ture Pol­icy Project (APP).

The ex­change is tak­ing place at two cen­tres – The Biotech­nol­ogy Cen­tre at the Univer­sity of the West Indies (UWI), and the Sci­en­tific Re­search Coun­cil.

In ad­di­tion, the ex­change will in­volve in­ter­ac­tion with Caribbean farm­ers and ex­po­sure to root crops value chains such as the UWIColumbia cas­sava flour project, Red Stripe cas­sava beer ini­tia­tives and bammy production.


Vili Can­iogo, an APP ad­viser, stated that th­ese south-south ex­changes were ex­tremely valu­able given the sim­i­lar­ity in cli­mac­tic con­di­tions, the much-needed fo­cus on food sta­ples and the com­mon goals for the agri­cul­ture sec­tor in both re­gions.

“This ex­change, fo­cus­ing on food sta­ples, is ex­tremely top­i­cal and is se­lected for strate­gic rea­sons. There is ev­i­dence that Pa­cific crop sta­ples such as taro, sweet pota­toes and bread­fruit and related crop­ping prac­tices are rel­a­tively re­silient to pro­jected cli­mate change – hence the need to in­crease their role in meet­ing food de­mand. We hope that th­ese south-south learn­ings will help of­fi­cers from both re­gions ex­change, adopt and dis­sem­i­nate new, proven meth­ods.”

Can­iogo went on to state that a re­cent re­view by the SPC of Na­tional Agri­cul­ture Sec­tor Poli­cies cov­er­ing 15 Pa­cific coun­tries showed that food se­cu­rity and cli­mates­mart agri­cul­ture were key goals for many coun­tries and, as such, “ex­changes like th­ese will help im­ple­ment th­ese strate­gic goals”.

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