A Need To Change Agricultural Research Methods

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Chairman of the National Agricultural Commission, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite (FP)

A prominent agriculturalist is encouraging the local agriculture and food production sectors to embrace new information and communication technologies, research methodologies and training.

The call has come from Chairman of the National Agricultural Commission, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, who posited that Barbados could not expect these key sectors to move forward if research did not involve the relevant stakeholders.

He was speaking yesterday during a ceremony to mark the transfer of land from the Edghill family of Dukes Plantation, in St. Thomas to the University of the West Indies (UWI) for that institution’s proposed Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship.

The project will assist in the promotion of research and training on sustainable food production and entrepreneurship in agriculture in Barbados.??

"We can no longer continue to do research that is conceived in the minds of scientists, that is, planned and executed without the involvement of those for whom it is intended; that is presented at scientific meetings and placed on the shelves of our libraries for posterity," Dr. Brathwaite said.

The Director Emeritus of the Inter- American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) suggested that today’s agricultural research must be client-driven, creative and seek to solve real problems which hinder the growth of agribusiness enterprise, primary production, or the marketing of crops or livestock.

He expressed the view that only when this focus is achieved, then the sector would see more investment from the private sector.

"The research of the future must respond to the needs of the productive sectors of the economy and this will open doors for private sector participation in the agenda for research. In fact, the private sector will then be encouraged to finance research that is in their interest," Dr. Brathwaite said.

andre.skeete@barbados.gov.bb

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