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The eagerly anticipated Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technology in Agriculture, was launched at the Bodles Research Station in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, on March 27.
Speaking at the launch, Special Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Wayne Henry said the Centre will “develop the habitual expressions in the agricultural sector in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region”.
The Centre is expected to streamline and co-ordinate all agricultural research and training throughout Jamaica, as well as serve as a nexus for national, regional, and international collaboration in agriculture.
Dr. Henry informed that “we will be working with existing stakeholders within the region, within Jamaica. and internationally to identify capabilities and best fit to carry out and undertake particular research and training in agricultural agenda”.
The Centre’s operations for the first three years will be funded by the Spanish Government, through the Agencia Espanola de Co-operacion Internacional (Caecid) with a US$3 million grant.
He said that construction of support facilities will begin shortly and will comprise administrative offices, meeting rooms, demonstration plots, seminars, and greenhouse facilities.
“The Centre while being largely virtual will have its centre located at Bodles, and construction will begin shortly,” Dr. Henry said.
The Centre will be supported by a satellite location at Coleyville in Manchester, selected specifically because of the altitude to allow and facilitate demonstrations in greenhouse technology. In addition, there will be residential accommodations for some 25 persons.
Operations at the Centre will be governed by a board of 15 advisors drawn from various sectors. These include: Bodles Research Station, the HEART Trust/NTA, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the Scientific Research Council (SRC), the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Jamaica Agro Processing Association, the Sugar Industry Research Institute (SIRI), the University of the West Indies (UWI), the Ministry of Education, the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), the Inter-American Institute on Co-operation in Agriculture (IICA), and the University of Technology (UTech).

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