As the Scientific Research Council (SRC) marks its 60th anniversary this year, the agency’s Executive Director, Dr. Cliff Riley, said the entity is proud of its contribution to national development.
“We see this milestone as marking 60 years of contributing positively to socio-economic activities in Jamaica, driving technological advancement and supporting innovation using science and technology,” he said.
He was addressing a Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) head office in Kingston on Friday (June 26).
Dr. Riley noted that at the establishment of the agency on June 16, 1960, there was great focus on developing the agro-production sector by introducing new technologies to enhance agricultural production. Since then, the entity’s operations have exponentially grown.
“Over the years, we have evolved based on the needs and demands of society, and we’ve taken on several other areas, including technology transfer to manufacturers, farmers and other end users,” he noted.
He highlighted, in particular, the tissue culture technique, which was started in the 1980s and has impacted the agriculture sector positively through the ‘Clean Seed’ programme.
“We have evolved so much that we are now engaged in plant breeding. We are breeding Jamaican ginger, sweet yam and coffee to be disease-resistant,” he pointed out.
Dr. Riley said the SRC is proud of the fact that over the years it has assisted the development of several micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
“We are all aware that MSMEs are pretty much the drivers of any economy, so we’ve dedicated resources to an applied research agenda, which has led to the development of new products for our market over the years. We’ve seen a vast number of jams, jellies, preserves and beverages that have entered the market locally and overseas,” he noted.
Some notable institutions that have benefited from the operations of the SRC include Walkerwood Caribbean Foods, Belcour Preserves and Home Choice Enterprise. The SRC has also worked closely with GraceKennedy in producing the ‘Tropical Rhythms’ beverage line.
Dr. Riley extended gratitude to the SRC’s clients, stakeholders and partners, who have provided support over the last 60 years, and expressed the agency’s commitment to continuing development in the field of science and technology.