Kingston, Jamaica, March 2, 2012 (IICA). The Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Victor M. Villalobos, recently concluded a visit to Jamaica, where he assessed with the new authorities of the country their priorities and needs in the area of technical cooperation.
During the visit, he met with the new Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Roger Clarke, and other high-level ministry officials. He also met with Senator Arnold Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
He also met with the Executive Director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Arlington Chesney and the Director for Jamaica of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Marie LeGault.
During the meetings, Dr. Villalobos renewed IICA’s commitment to promoting competitive and sustainable agriculture in Jamaica, providing support in the area of food and nutritional security and promoting initiatives intended to help the sector adapt to climate change. He was accompanied by IICA Director of Management and Regional Integration, Victor Del Angel.
The Director General offered the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries technical assistance in managing the lethal yellowing of coconut palm disease, in complying with sanitary and phytosanitary measures for the export of yams to the United States, and in applying techniques for correctly harvesting sorrel.
Minister Clarke stated his satisfaction with the offer and underscored the fact that the country also needed cooperation in establishing an agricultural chain that will make it possible to include safety and wholesome fruits and vegetables in school breakfasts.
Villalobos and Del Angel took the opportunity to introduce the new IICA Representative to Jamaica, Ingatius Jean, the IICA Strategy for Cooperation in Jamaica, the 2010-2014 Medium Term Plan, and new projects such as the scholarships for graduate studies being offered by the National Science and Technology Council (CONACYT) of Mexico.
Senator Nicholson expressed special interest in the latter initiative, stating “The goal of these programs is to increase knowledge in the agricultural sector. As such, they contribute to increasing food production at home and lowering imports.” He also underscored the importance of publicizing the scholarships among young people.
Along with the CIDA Director, Villalobos and Del Angel reviewed the joint projects IICA and CIDA are implementing and discussed possible areas for cooperation in the future.
Discussions with the Executive Director of CARDI focused on the same topics.
The visit included a tour of greenhouse agriculture projects, including the Improving Jamaican Agricultural Productivity (IJAP) project, being implemented by IICA and CIDA.
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