Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI), Dr. Trevor Nicholls (right), hands over Barbados’ membership document to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Michael King.(A.Miller/BGIS)

Barbados’ membership in the UK-based Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI) could not have come at a better time as the country embarks on transforming the agricultural sector.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Michael King, made these comments today while delivering the feature address at CABI’s two-day Regional Consultation Meeting entitled: Improving Livelihoods through Knowledge Solutions and Partnerships, at the Amaryllis Hotel in Christ Church.

He said that in recent times, the importance of a vibrant agricultural sector as a "critical engine of social and economic development" was acknowledged globally and this fact had not gone unnoticed in Barbados.

Mr. King explained that the island’s goals of achieving sustainability and food security through capacity building; the utilisation of modern technologies and the pursuance of a green economy, were in sync with the core values of CABI which was established in 1910.

He added that through its membership with the organisation, Barbados stood to benefit immensely.

"…Not only from the expertise which CABI provides through the diagnostic capability of the organisation, but also with the training of the Ministry’s technical staff, the transfer of knowledge and improvements in our sanitary and phytosanitary capabilities which are critical in light of the fact that we are in the process of establishing a National Agricultural Health and Food Control System which is intended to ensure that Barbados’ agricultural exports comply with international standards," Mr. King said.

Following the opening ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of CABI, Dr. Trevor Nicholls, officially handed over Barbados’ membership documents to the Permanent Secretary.

Barbados joined the organisation in January, this year. The country was a member of CABI before but dropped out after "a lapse in membership". Mr. King said the Ministry had lobbied almost annually, for funds to be made available to rejoin the body. Cabinet approved the request last year.

CABI is a not-for-profit international organisation that seeks to improve people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. Its mission and direction is influenced by its members who help guide the activities it undertakes. These include scientific publishing, development projects and research, and microbial services.

It has worked with Barbados in the past to rid the island of the Pink Mealy Bug and, more recently, to establish plant clinics around the island to mitigate invasive species that might affect crops.

"Barbados looks forward to a mutually rewarding association with CABI as we work together to revitalise and reposition the local agricultural sector centred around science, modern technologies and innovation," Mr. King asserted.


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