Gov’t partners with South Africa on nutraceuticals

Gov’t partners with South Africa on nutraceuticals

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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JAMAICA is partnering with the Republic of South Africa in the area of nutraceuticals, as it moves to strengthen its collaboration with that country in science and technology.

This is one of five priority areas which have been identified under the Jamaica/South Africa Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which was signed last year.

The agreement includes the exchange of scientists, researchers, technical experts and scholars, as well as the formulation and implementation of joint research and development programmes.

The other areas on which both countries have agreed to collaborate, are: biotechnology, renewable energy, popularisation of science, as well as the science and technology behind the proposed logistics hub.

Details of the partnership were announced during the first meeting of the Jamaica-South Africa Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation, at the offices of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining in Kingston on Monday.

Highlighting the rationale for selecting nutraceuticals as one of the key areas for cooperation, permanent secretary in the ministry, Hilary Alexander noted that it has been identified as a "growing business" and is an area in which Jamaica has a long history, "but we have not necessarily realised all the benefits therein".

She added: "We would not wish the rest of the world to overtake us with respect to either the research or the products or the indigenous materials that we have, that can make a difference to the rest of the world," she said.

The permanent secretary said Jamaica was seeking to build on some of the research work South Africa has done in this area, which has the potential to provide a revenue stream for the country.

In the meantime, South African High Commissioner to Jamaica Mathu Joyini, said Jamaica is "a very strong ally historically", having already collaborated in the area of education and sports.

"We are leveraging that relationship to explore other areas that can benefit our two countries, and science and technology is one of them," she said.

She noted that Jamaica and South Africa have similar missions of using science and technology to create solutions that advance society and have a meaningful impact on its development.

"I'm quite confident that there is so much that we can learn from you (Jamaica) and there is so much that we can share from our side. I'm just happy that we are starting this process," she said.

Science and Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell said the cooperation agreement is furthering Jamaica's drive to incorporate science and technology innovation into our economic milieu. "We really want now to map out the action items going forward [and] we now need to get some concrete items agreed on and pursued," he said.

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