Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Feature: University of the West Indies pleased with outcomes of CWA 2013

by Dr David Dolly and Adelle Roopchand

The Faculty of Food and Agriculture (FFA) of the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine campus hosted several activities at the 12th Caribbean Week of Agriculture in Guyana. 

The activities included: panel discussions, meetings with the Alliance and COTED, the launch of the Caribbean Agricultural Extension Providers network, a Food Security Project Workshop, student contribution to the Caribbean Agricultural Forum for youth ( CAFY) and exhibits at the Exhibition and Trade Show. Additionally academic staff participated in discussions based on their agricultural research and development interest.

At the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – Agriculture, it was agreed that there is need for a Faculty Advisory Board which would serve to liaise with the region’s stakeholders. Dr Isaac Bekele, Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, UWI assured the ministers at COTED that the board will be set up by. The board seeks to ensure that the reconstituted Faculty is able to meet the varied needs of the region’s agricultural stakeholders.

The COTED assembly also endorsed the launch of the Caribbean Agricultural Extension Providers Network, CAEPNet. Minister of Agriculture for Guyana, the Honourable Dr Leslie Ramsammy remains confident that this network will contribute to improved advisory services for the agricultural sector.

A key outcome for the Faculty is COTED’s commitment to support new training initiatives. This provides an opportunity for a wider range of studies in the agricultural discipline for diplomas. Currently, the UWI offers Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees. It will review the annual In-service Extension training course for countries in the Eastern Caribbean.

The Faculty engaged in two panel discussions on the topics of “Agricultural Education” and “Food and Nutrition Security”. Dean Owen Bovell of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Guyana lead the discussion on Agricultural Education which concluded that trainees and trainers must seek ways to keep abreast of changing paradigms for agricultural education in the region. 

On the topic of Food and Nutrition Security, Mr Oulabi Elabanjo, Technical Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Land, Housing and the Environment, Antigua and Barbuda, presented the Food Security Strategy of Antigua and Barbuda through that island’s “Zero Hunger Challenge” initiative supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)which outlined a path towards a successful attempt to eradicate hunger and improve food security.

On the field, the UWI Saint Augustine FFA presented two booths at the 12th CWA Exhibition and Tradeshow held at the Guyana International Conference Centre. One displayed aspects of the Faculty’s research and teaching in the areas of crop production, food security, nutrition security agricultural extension and livestock production. 

Another activity, gave patrons of the tradeshow and participants of the CWA activities and opportunity to be part of one innovative outcomes of the UWI –McGill Food Security Project (CIFSR) - a ‘life size game’ which intrigued participants as they related their knowledge of nutritional facts to becoming physically active. This game is the prototype of permanent inclusions in the curricula of primary schools in the Caribbean region.
Brochures and other literature were distributed during the activities – material included information on the nutritional strength of the breadfruit, post-harvest research, wildlife farming, agricultural extension and paradigms for tropical agricultural development. Students of the Guyana School of Agriculture and the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Guyana were keen audiences.

Dean Bekele expressed his satisfaction at all the successful outcomes at the 12th CWA and at COTED, and looks forward to follow-up activities into throughout the year into CWA 2014.

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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