Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Michael King (second left), chats with CEO of CABI, Dr. Trevor Nicholls (third right), and other representatives of the organisation. From left, Naitram Ramnanan, Regional Representative of CABI, Dr. Dennis Rangi, Execuitive Director of International Development and Dr. Qiaoqiao Zhang, Director of Memberships.(A. Gaskin/BGIS)

Barbados is now the 48th member country of the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI).

Chief Executive Officer of CABI, Dr. Trevor Nicholls, along with other representatives of the organisation, met with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Michael King, today at the Ministry’s Graeme Hall, Christ Church headquarters.

The meeting was ahead of a two-day Regional Consultation with CABI member countries slated for tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20 and Thursday, February 21, at the Amaryllis Hotel in Christ Church.

Mr. King said incorporating science and technology into agriculture, particularly in developing countries like Barbados was crucial.

"Barbados has gone from a mono-crop economy to a mixed economy, heavily driven by financial services and tourism. We still feel it is important for us to develop our capacity in the area of agricultural science bringing science and technology into agriculture to modernise what we are doing. We are very happy to welcome you to Barbados and to have an opportunity to hear how this relationship between Barbados and CABI can be further enhanced for the benefit for our people," he noted.

Dr. Nicholls said CABI had worked with the Ministry of Agriculture on a number of projects in the past, including the Integrated Pest Management of Cotton and, more recently, with the establishment of plant clinics, and he hoped to build on that established relationship.

"There is already a lot of scientific research in agriculture in Barbados and many other countries around the world but it is not disseminated very effectively. The history of agricultural science is quite longstanding. Although the modern biotechnology and genetic revolution has enabled us to breed new crops much faster, we shouldn’t lose sight of the tremendous body of work that already exists. An important part of CABI’s mission is really gathering that together and making it much more accessible.

"Our regional representative in the Caribbean, Naitram Ramnanan, has been working in the region on invasive species on a big project funded by the Global Environment Facility. We were just hearing how many tourists you have coming through the island every year and that must pose an enormous biosecurity challenge just in terms of the crazy stuff that people want to bring in. So, the battle against invasive species never really stops. We hope… that you’ll take up the full benefits of membership and I welcome you to the CABI family," Dr. Nicholls said.

CABI, formerly the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau, is a not-for-profit inter-governmental organisation based in the United Kingdom. The organisation undertakes a variety of projects worldwide addressing agricultural and environmental issues. The main areas it focuses on are commodities, invasive species and scientific communication. Specific projects include diagnosing plant and pest problems, developing control methods and teaching farmers best practice in the field.


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