Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Haynesley Benn

The best in agricultural research in Barbados, the region and further afield will be brought to the fore  early next week, when the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development hosts its annual National Agricultural Conference at the Sherbourne Conference Centre.

The two-day forum, which will get underway on Monday, July 14 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:10 p.m. and continue on Tuesday, July 15, from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., will attract some of the region’s leading agricultural practitioners and researchers.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Haynesley Benn, will deliver the feature address to officially open the conference, and Chief Agricultural Officer, Barton Clarke, will also deliver an address.

The official opening will also feature a technical presentation  on the topic:  ‘Integrating Field Monitoring and Hydrologic Modelling for Water Resources Planning and Management’ by Barbadian scientist, Dr. Andy Ward, Senior Research Scientist for Hydrology Environmental Technology Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA.

A total of 15 research papers are slated to be presented by representatives of local, regional and international academic institutions, as well as from  partnering agencies.  These include: the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI).

In giving the rationale for the conference, Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer, and Chairman of the planning committee, Michael Hunte, said its overarching aim was to create a forum for the sharing of information as well as new agricultural research. 

“It is an opportunity to bring researchers together to create a forum for the sharing of new discoveries, with fresh blood and fresh thinking. By exposing young scientists in the Ministry to the conference-type atmosphere, we hope to challenge them and by extension develop a cadre of professionals in both research and research presentation,” he said.

Mr. Hunte noted that for the first time the conference will feature a panel discussion on the topic:  ‘How much should the research agenda be changed to deal with the current food crisis’.

“We believe that as a result of the crisis we may have to review some things which we may have had or not had on our research agenda,” he explained.

The panellists for the discussion are: Dr. Barbara Graham, Food and Agriculture Organisation Representative in Barbados, and  Sub-regional representative for the Caribbean; Dr. Carlisle Pemberton, Senior Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, UWI, St. Augustine; Dr. Cyril Roberts, Country Representative of the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI’, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Ralph Farnum, Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer and James Paul, Chief Executive Officer, Barbados Agricultural Society.

Some of the topics to be presented  over the two days are: ‘Public Policy for Caribbean Food Security’; ‘Agro-tourism linkages and Economic Development in Barbados’;  ‘Use of Indices and other Indicators to assess Agricultural drought in Barbados’;  ‘Performance of Israeli greenhouse sweet peppers under greenhouse conditions in Barbados’; ‘Study of the Natural Enemy Complex of Cotton Pests in Different Localities in Barbados’ and ‘The Competitiveness of the Barbadian Watermelon Farmer with the Advent of CSME’.

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