MoU signed to upgrade seed lab at Bodles

Thursday, April 26, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the refurbishing of the Bodles Research Station's seed laboratory and storage facility in St Catherine.

This is one of several adaptation initiatives being implemented under the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), with grant funding of US$10.39 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The signing ceremony was held yesterday at the ministry's St Lucia Avenue corporate offices in New Kingston.

The refurbishing exercise, slated for completion within three months, will result in the addition of a new cold room and storage areas. A seed batch dryer and a standby generator to keep the facility cool will also be procured.

When completed, the storage facility will house seeds of selected climate-resilient cultivars.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, said the project is a timely intervention, as it comes against the background of the Redevelopment Programme now under way at the Bodles Research Station, home of the Ministry's Research and Development Division.

“We have to constantly monitor, assess and evaluate the sector in a bid to mitigate its vulnerability and enhance its sustainability,” the minister said.

“The storage facility at the Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine will house the seeds of climate-resilient crop varieties for the region. This agreement will go a far way towards boosting the seed-producing capacity at the research station,” he said.

In his remarks, Executive Director of CARDI, Barton Clarke, said the organisation welcomes the collaboration, which will assist is shoring up the food security in the region.

“We recognise that it is important for us to put in place systems and facilities and to build out capacity that will allow us to respond quickly in the event that there is any disaster that will disrupt our food supply,” he said.

“In this regard, under the aegis of the PPCR, and in collaboration with the ministry, we are pleased to upgrade the facility at Bodles, not only to strengthen the capacity of Jamaica to respond but also to position Jamaica as a leader in the Caribbean to help support CARDI's effort to safeguard the supply of seeds in the event that such disasters unfold,” Clarke added.

Senior Climate Change Specialist for the IDB, Gerard Alleng, said the programme is an essential measure for the agricultural sector.

“We are committed to helping our member countries respond to the impacts of climate change, especially in the Caribbean. We know there will continue to be significant climate-related shocks, such as rising sea level and ambient temperature increases, hence the investment in seed banks,” he said.

Jamaica, as one of the pilot countries, will benefit from a number of initiatives. These include validating climate-resilient production systems developed for roots and tuber crops (sweet potato and cassava), establishment of weaning and hardening facilities, and upgrading of the seed-storage facilities at the Bodles Research Station.

The PPCR seeks to address climate change issues and their effect on the agricultural sector.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) is the implementing organisation for the PPCR in Jamaica.

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