The establishment of the Hope Agricultural Training Institute at Hope Plantation, St. Lucy and The UWI’s Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship at Dukes Plantation, St. Thomas, will transform Barbados into “the training hub for agriculture and food security in the Caribbean region”.
Chinese Ambassador to Barbados, Yan Xiusheng, made this assertion recently at a ceremony to announce the winners of the annual Chinese Government Scholarships.
Both the Hope and UWI projects are being funded by the Peoples Republic of China.
“With help from the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, and also the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, we are making progress with [these] two Chinese Government-funded projects in Barbados,” he told those in attendance, who included Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw.
Ms. Bradshaw disclosed that the UWI team had completed the “long awaited design review” for the Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship and that the Hope team was “not far behind”.
The objective of the Hope Agricultural Training Institute is to act as a partial training ground for students of the Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology as they seek to complete their Associate Degrees, diplomas and certificates in agriculture programmes.
The UWI Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship’s mandate is to encourage and facilitate innovation in Caribbean agri-business and food production, including finding new and creative uses for local and regional plants; medicinal plants, as well as cassava, breadfruit and cocoa products. It is also supporting local sheep farmers by establishing a leather industry based on the Barbados Black Belly Sheep.