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Thursday, July 20, 2006 

Call for more research and development in agriculture
Web Posted - Thu Jul 20 2006
Greater emphasis must be placed on exploiting intellectual property within the agricultural sector to accrue real economic benefits to Barbados.

So says Agriculture Minister, Senator Erskine Griffith, who has charged that research corporations, particularly in developed countries, have taken the lead in exploiting the latent value of biodiversity and the indigenous knowledge which exist in respective local communities. He was at the time addressing the launch of a two-day National Agricultural Conference at the Savannah Hotel.

Noting that Barbados must take advantage of the intellectual property present in sugar cane, cotton, black belly sheep and other products, Minister Griffith contended: We must ensure that real economic benefits accrue to the country when researchers, whether local or foreign, develop new products that are based on local material or knowledge which presently exist in the public domain.

He pledged his Ministrys commitment to aid research and development within the sector in an effort to ensure its survival in spite of changing circumstances in the international market.

In addition to lending its support to the development of new products, as well as new varieties of existing ones, to promote competitiveness, he said plans were also in the pipeline to transform research and development within the Ministry of Agriculture.

Researchers, he underlined, would be encouraged to engage in a greater degree of organisation and management, in addition to drawing on the principles of science and technology.

Meanwhile, according to Senator Griffith, the Ministry would be positioning itself to better assume its primary responsibility for coordinating all agricultural research and development in the island. It will also be aiming to promote new technologies through the use of adaptive research, on-farm demonstrative activities and collaborative programmes with various farmers organisations, commodity associations and agricultural cooperatives.

Some 18 research papers are expected to be presented during the two-day meeting, which has attracted representatives from various segments of the sector. Studies have been concentrated on the black belly sheep; the West Indian fruit-fly; fuel cane; coral bleaching; attitudes of the local sector towards climate change; pig farming and the sugar cane sector, among other areas.

The conference is designed to bring into the public domain new or emerging scientific knowledge; foster a culture of scientific excellence in research; and create a forum for the sharing of information and research findings among practitioners.

Barbados Advocate ©2000

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