Saturday, March 9, 2013

Agriculture feature: CARDI, St Patrick Coconut Growers Co-op sign Technical Cooperation Agreement

by Yolande Agard, CARDI
The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the St Patrick’s Coconut Growers Cooperative Society Limited on Wednesday 27th February, 2013 signed a General Agreement for Technical Cooperation at the CARDI Headquarters, UWI St Augustine Campus. 

Signing on behalf of CARDI was Dr. Arlington Chesney, Executive Director and on behalf of the Cooperative Society was Mr. Pranesh Maharaj, Chairman.
Also attending the signing ceremony were Jairam Seemungal, Minister in the Ministry of Food Production and Karyl Adams, Commissioner for Cooperative Development in the Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development. 

In his brief Address, Seemungal made reference to his recent trip to Guyana where he visited some coconut estates and was impressed by the management practice of the coconut farmers. He reiterated that the Government is committed to funding and supporting developmental work in the agriculture sector.

Dr. Chesney sought to debunk the myth that coconut oil is unhealthy, stating that with the backing of the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI) coconut oil is of superlative quality, and is noted to assist with stemming the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

In his address, the Cooperative’s Chairman, stated that the Minister of Food Production, Devant Maharaj, has recognized the Cooperative as the industry transformational vehicle and has given tremendous support for its initiatives. 

The Minister has given support for an MOU between the Cooperative, on behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago Coconut Industry and the Coconut Development Board of India; officials are due in April 2013 to conduct an industry assessment and roadmap for industry redevelopment based on stated “priority areas”.
Additionally, Maharaj said that the Minister must be applauded for forming the Coconut Industry Transformation Committee (CITC) which has submitted a proposal for a National Pest and Disease Eradication Programme to commence shortly. This will be the first in a series of transformational initiatives. 

Under the Agreement, the two parties will aim to achieve specific objectives in the coconut industry in Trinidad and Tobago, and as appropriate in the wider Caribbean, including:-
  • Enhance the financial, technical, physical and social capabilities of the public and private sector and global organisations for sustainable agriculture, food production and rural development 
  • Streamline agricultural technology and innovation and production infrastructure, in order to enhance more viable trade in all markets and to respond to critical issues, such as climate change, renewable energy, etc. 
  • Modernise the agricultural research and knowledge application systems for sustainable economic development, and 
  • Support the placement of the national and regional coconut industries within an acceptable global organisation. 
CARDI was established in 1975 to serve the agricultural research for development needs of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)). It is positioned to “enhance the socio-economic well-being of the Caribbean people through research that improves the competitiveness and sustainability of the regional agriculture”. 

The Cooperative Society was established in 1987 to change from traditional to modern operational methodologies. Its vision is to transform the industry utilizing the present Government’s policy, support and assistance. 

The Society is national in scope and consists of 160 coconut farmers comprising some 7,500 acres. Its major emphasis is on secondary business (value added) processing activities. The business mandate is to redistribute/redeploy profits back to farmers operations for long-term sustainability and rural socio-economic impact.
Contact: CARDI’s Office|868|645|1205

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai