Jamaica Must Deepen Science and Technology Base – Paulwell


Science, Commerce and Technology, Minister Philip Paulwell, has pointed to the need for Jamaica to expand and deepen activities in science and technology particularly in areas likely to bring rewards in the short and medium term.
Minister Paulwell, who was speaking at the Scientific Research Council (SRC) press conference to launch November as Science and Technology Month, held today (Oct. 21) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, said that, “this year must signal renewed commitment to strengthening the country’s scientific and technological foundation to create a knowledge-based society and the building of competitive advantage in the economy.”
He challenged the productive sector to become “active participants in the process of research and development,” noting that the stage had been set to embrace “innovation and new investment opportunities.”
Minister Paulwell said while new products must continue to be promoted among local entrepreneurs, “greater effort must be made to seek foreign investors who can seize the opportunities on their own or through local partnerships”.
“We cannot continue to be a nation of samples; we must now look beyond our limitations and boldly seek to attract and nurture strategic alliances,” he stated while challenging development agencies to become more client focused.
He pointed out globalization and free trade have put traditional exports under threat and an “urgent move must be made to diversify the economy by increasing non-traditional exports and capturing niche market products.”
He noted further, that with some 40 different agencies involved in different areas of research and development, focus now must be placed on achieving greater cost effectiveness and more efficient deployment of human and physical resources.
The Minister recognized the work of the SRC in expanding the country’s industrial base, pointing out that their efforts would result in increased opportunities for entrepreneurship, employment and the improved capacity to earn and save foreign exchange.
The Minister further noted that the SRC would play a vital role in the revitalization of the agriculture sector in the wake of Hurricane Ivan, through the use of its tissue culture technology, which will be used to generate enough planting materials for farmers.
Minister Paulwell informed that already, an arrangement has been made with the Banana Export Company (BECo) to ensure that large and small farmers had quick and easy access to banana plantlets.
National Science and Technology Month will be observed under the theme ‘Science and Technology for Economic Development: Transforming Research Results and Traditional Knowledge into Viable Business.’
The month will be proclaimed by Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Howard Cooke and a range of activities will take place over the period in the form of exhibitions, panel discussions, public fora, an inventors and innovators expo in an effort to create greater awareness of the impact of science and technology on economic development.
The SRC is an agency of the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology and has a mandate to develop products from local materials using effective and efficient technology.
Most of the Council’s projects support the growth and development of the agro-industrial sector in Jamaica through research, adaptation of available technologies, creation of new and appropriate technologies and the provision of training and technical assistance.

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