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  • The Scientific Research Council (SRC) has been producing a wide range of disease-free plantlets for the agricultural sector.
  • Process Development Officer at the SRC, Gillian Rowe, said through the use of tissue culture technology, planting material is being made available to farmers and horticulturists. These include banana, plantain, pineapple, ginger, several varieties of yam, herbal products, and various ornamentals.
  • The SRC, which is an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, was established in May 1960 as Jamaica’s principal public sector agency, responsible for the fostering and coordination of scientific research and the promotion and application of its results.

The Scientific Research Council (SRC) has been producing a wide range of disease-free plantlets for the agricultural sector.

Process Development Officer at the SRC, Gillian Rowe, said through the use of tissue culture technology, planting material is being made available to farmers and horticulturists. These include banana, plantain, pineapple, ginger, several varieties of yam, herbal products, and various ornamentals.

She was speaking at a SRC-sponsored symposium at the St. Ann’s Bay Parish Library, St. Ann on Wednesday (September 30), under the theme: ‘Grow Jamaica…Protect Jamaica’.
Ms. Rowe explained that tissue culture technology “is the process by which a small piece of plant tissue is placed on a culture medium, and where it grows into a complete plant, identical to the mother plant.”

She said the advantages of using the technology include faster production of plantlets, high quality plant material, disease-free planting material, flexible order quantities, and year round availability of plantlets.

“Field studies have shown that the yield per hectare of tissue cultured plants surpasses that of those propagated through traditional methods,” she pointed out.

She said that the production of tissue culture by the SRC has resulted in a decline in the volume of imported plants, saving the nation significant sums of foreign exchange.
Ms. Rowe noted that the SRC has one of the largest gene banks in the Caribbean and Central America, and a major thrust is propagating and preserving plants of national and economic value.

“It serves, among other things, to conserve rare and endangered plants of national interest. It has a wide collection of ornamentals and orchard crops. The gene bank allows the country to protect some of its plants from diseases and disasters, man-made or natural,” she pointed out.
General Manager of Marketech Limited, which is a subsidiary of the SRC, Roselyn Fisher, pointed out that most of the SRC’s projects and activities support the growth and development of the local agro-industrial sector through research, adaptation of available technologies, creation of new and appropriate technologies, and the provision of training and technical assistance.

”The SRC implements science and technology projects, which have the potential to assist in the economic and social development of Jamaica,” she noted.

“Our mandate is to serve the productive sector, policymakers and the general public. We do this in order to enable sustainable growth and development in Jamaica by providing quality scientific and technological solutions, popularising science and technology through strategic alliances and being customer-focused with innovative, competent and responsive teams,” Ms. Fisher noted further.
She said that in its drive to boost economic development, the SRC has assembled a team of experienced and competent professionals to train and empower entrepreneurs to produce quality products and optimise processes.

The training courses, she said, include: food processing, juice processing, production of sauces, meat processing, safe bottling of water, personal care products such as body wash and lotion, wastewater management and operations, strategic marketing, and good manufacturing practices.

The SRC, which is an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, was established in May 1960 as Jamaica’s principal public sector agency, responsible for the fostering and coordination of scientific research and the promotion and application of its results.