JIS News

With the Centre of Excellence for Advanced Technology in Agriculture (CEATA) now a reality, persons can begin benefitting from its work immediately, through the use of its official website.
The CEATA, launched by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding last March, was created to serve as a coordinating agency to address research and training in the agricultural sector.
As part of the function of the centre, the website, which was launched last week, is expected to become a primary disseminator of information on research in agriculture.
Director of CEATA, Dr. Derrick Deslandes, told JIS News that the site will act as a repository of information and help with the transfer of knowledge to different stakeholders.
“So, the research that comes from different universities will be pushed up to CEATA and farmers will be able to access it immediately. We also plan to have some outreach events where we go to the farming communities and demonstrate some of the videos as part of the training programmes. So, part of the role of the website is to make it available to the RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) offices so a farmer could walk into RADA and be able to view the videos of different production methods for different crops,” he explained.
The website, www.ceatajamaica.gov.jm, has links to all its stakeholder groups such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), and local institutions that are involved in the promotion and capacity building of agriculture.
These include the Scientific Research Council (SCR), the University of the West Indies, and Northern Caribbean University.
However, the CEATA will also do its own research work for the benefit of the local agricultural sector. “We are doing tissue culture for ginger, (and) irish potatoes, and we are (also) doing several test plots for Irish potatoes in St. Elizabeth to determine what is the best irrigation method that will generate the greatest yield and return to the farmer in respect of cost of production and production output,” he informed.
The centre is coordinating and in some cases sourcing funding to supply material for its research. It has begun collaboration with the RADA and the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) on the research plot for Irish potatoes. “At the end of the day, we will benefit from the knowledge that is gained from the experiments,” Dr. Deslandes assured.
The CEATA website targets everyone with its demonstration videos and resources, and informs different members of the stakeholder group about research efforts and their results.
“We want to be able to capture new farmers, young farmers, old farmers that are willing to try new ideas. What we are saying is we have the tools that can guide you. So, we want to get to the point where you don’t have to figure it out, we give you a video of what will work for you, how it will work and how it can be done,” the Director explained.

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