Sat | Aug 19, 2017

CARDI head chides donor agencies for bad seeds

Published:Monday | January 16, 2017 | 1:00 AMChristopher Serju
Barton Clarke, executive director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).

Barton Clarke, executive director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), has taken issue with the integrity of some of agricultural inputs provided by international donor agencies - specifically planting material. This, he said, is one of the factors negatively impacting the ability of regional farmers to compete.

"We are also aware of farmers across the Caribbean continuing to complain about the expense of the seeds, the quality of the seeds, the inappropriateness of the seeds. Often, you get the impression that they send us seeds and so on that are stale, that they don't want, or they send us stuff that grow best in the European environment as opposed to the Caribbean context. Hence, we are unable to compete effectively," he declared on Wednesday.

Clarke, who was in Jamaica to participate in the donation of seed production equipment to the Bodles Research Station in Old Harbour, St Catherine, by CARDI, used the handing over ceremony at Hope Gardens to challenge regional states to retake full control of every aspect of their agricultural value chains.

"So having provided the equipment to deal with the issue of seed quality, the next phase has to include how we are going to look specifically at our own material. We want to be in a position that we are producing and marketing West Indian Red, Scotch Bonnet, Moruga Scorpion pepper to the world; that we take out the necessary geographical indicators, that we create the necessary intellectual property that gives our farmers an edge in the marketplace," the CARDI head argued.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com