The Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) on Monday (January 14) presented the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) with inputs, which will assist with the restoration of its teaching facilities for protected agriculture.
The inputs include seedlings, agro chemicals, shade netting, and galvanised piping material. The facilities suffered some damage from the passage of Hurricane Sandy in October of last year.
Hygiene equipment was also handed over to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) by IICA, to provide support for sheep and goat farmers.
Speaking at the symbolic handing over ceremony, held at IICA’s Hope Gardens offices in Kingston, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, said that with losses to the sector from hurricane Sandy standing at $1.5 billion, the donation augured well for more co-operation between IICA and the Portland-based tertiary institution.
“They (IICA) have the kind of network in almost every country in the hemisphere and the kind of flexibility to respond very quickly, as is evidenced here,” he said, pointing to examples of swift assistance by the agency to the sector when needed.
“The Ministry will continue to work very closely with CASE,” Mr. Stanberry assured.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary welcomed the assistance to small ruminant farmers, and noted the need for more production in the sub-sector. “We are importing frightening amounts of mutton and sheep meat…we need to do so much more in small ruminants, so this assistance is right on the spot,” he said.
Meanwhile, IICA Representative in Jamaica, Ignatius Jean, told the gathering that he hoped the contribution to CASE would “go a long way to assist,” and that this is a renewal of the Institute’s efforts in supporting the College.
“It needs all the support it can get…we have to be arming them (future farmers) with modern technologies as well as to be able to access information, not only within Jamaica, but to be part of the process of agricultural development within our hemisphere and globally. I think there are some very good opportunities for us to have that kind of collaboration in the future,” he said.
Mr. Jean cited areas for possible collaboration, such as the scholarship programme that was established with Mexico two years ago for post graduate students in agriculture and related fields; IICA’s online libraries programme; and its small ruminant programme.
He noted also that IICA’s headquarters in Costa Rica has connections with many other training institutions in the hemisphere, from which CASE could benefit. “We believe that an institution such as CASE should be part of that network, particularly the Caribbean Agricultural Council for higher education, which has its Secretariat in the Dominican Republic,” he said.
CASE is a multi-disciplinary institution offering training in education, agriculture, management sciences and natural sciences.