UWI Embarks on Programme to Assist Agricultural Sector


The University of the West Indies (UWI) has embarked on a programme to assist farmers to gain the maximum benefit from agricultural production, and agri-processing.
The institution, through its Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, is using research to put the agricultural sector in a position to supply the food needs of the country, and to extract medicinal ingredients from different produce.
“We are very excited about the possibility of agriculture revolutionising the economic livelihood of the country. This year, the Government has been able to reduce the amount of imports by 28 per cent, and we have increased the amount of food that we produce by 14 to 18 per cent,” said Dean of the Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, Professor Isahenkumba Kahwa, in an interview with JIS News.
“We are talking about food processing, post harvesting, and value added products. We are looking at the entire value chain, and we are saying to Jamaica there is a market here. If we grow enough food to feed ourselves, that alone can take care of the 60 per cent of food we import to feed our tourists,” he said.
He said that despite the many challenges faced by farmers and other players in the agricultural sector, it is possible for people to make money from farming.
“Although we have these challenges, we can address them. We are going to consolidate our research into a more robust and effective force, our Bachelor’s programme in agriculture will take off in September, and our Graduate programme will go off in January. Come 2010, we shall be introducing new programmes in agriculture,” Professor Kahwa informed.
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