Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 8th 2018 Contents 4 UWI TODAY -- SUNDAY 8 APRIL, 2018
TechAGRI EXPO 2018 A GREEN GLIMPSE
of what could be
BY JOEL HENRY
Imagine a food-secure Trinidad and Tobago, where
farmers and manufacturers, supported by investment and
innovation, produce world-class goods for domestic and
international consumption. Imagine the impact it could
have on T&T's $7 billion food import bill and skyrocketing
obesity rates. Imagine what a vibrant food production
industry could mean for economic diversi cation, foreign
exchange and employment.
is past March, from ursday 22 to Sunday 25, UWI
St. Augustine's Faculty of Food and Agriculture's (FFA)
techAGRI Expo 2018 gave the country a glimpse of what
T&T's food future could be.
" e purpose of techAGRI is to draw national attention
to agriculture and food," said Dr. Wayne Ganpat, Dean of
the FFA, at the opening ceremony. "Make no bones about
it, Trinidad and Tobago is not a food secure nation. As a
consequence we need all hands on deck to provide some
level of food security for our children."
Held at the green and sprawling Admin West Field on
the campus, the expo was a festival of agri-entrepreneurs, a
vast array of innovative agro-products, fresh produce, the
latest in farm technology, seminars, school tours, a food
village and even a small zoo. e FFA said that over 200
entrepreneurs took part and more than 3,500 students from
primary and secondary schools attended.
Attendees at the opening ceremony included Cuban
Ambassador Guillermo Vázquez Moreno, Colombian
Ambassador Alfonso Múnera Cavadia, and senior
diplomats from the High Commissions of India and
Jamaica. Members of e UWI executive such as Pro Vice-
Chancellor of Graduate Studies and Research, Dr. Dale
Webber, St. Augustine Campus Principal Professor Brian
Copeland and Deputy Principal Professor Indar Ramnarine
were also there.
Dr. John Alleyne, advisor on agriculture in the O ce
of the Prime Minister, applauded the expo for its focus on
cooperation and pledged the Government's support:
" e O ce of the Prime Minister and the Ministry
of Agriculture are behind you. We have to work together.
It is a collaborative e ort -- university working together
with farmers, working together with (government) to get
Dr. Ganpat also announced several other initiatives
aimed at promoting food security. ese included the
o ering of new certi cate programmes in agriculture and
human ecology, a graduate programme in value addition
for food security, the hosting of a national symposium on
food security in May 2018 and an international conference
on climate change and food security in November 2018.
e Dean also said the Faculty would be working with
PVC Webber on a "food and security research cluster across
the three UWI campuses."
"Under the leadership of Dr. Webber we will coordinate
research and education in agriculture," Dr. Ganpat said. "As
the Dean of FFA I promise to be unrelenting in seeking
every opportunity within my mandate to build a food-
secure nation for our children."
Visitors to the expo took part in tours of the National
Herbarium (home to samples of every plant species in
T&T), the Cocoa Research Centre and the FFA's laboratories
and facilities. ey purchased items such as exotic plants,
fruit and vegetable beverages, local co ees, soaps and skin
care items, handcra ed jewelry and many more. FFA sta
and students played a major part in building and manning
the expo, as well as conducting tours.
Dr. Ganpat made special mention of the agri-
entrepreneurship on display:
"TechAGRI is intended to expose the public to the wide
range of food and fruit products that have been brought
to market by scores of small entrepreneurs -- all based on
local products. Many of these entrepreneurs just need a
one-stop shop where they can go and get all the help they
need to expose their products nationally, regionally and
internationally. Well, who will help them?"
e FFA also used the occasion to launch a product of
its own, University Station Goat's Milk. e new product,
fresh milk from pasture-fed goats will join the highly
successful University Field Station Cow's Milk on local
Speaking on the current national landscape for food
production, Professor Copeland said, "we have grown
accustomed to a wide variety of food and drink brought
here from all parts of the world. Alongside this easy access
has been an unnerving increase in obesity and chronic
He added: "Now that access to foreign exchange has
become challenging for business and individuals alike
it is more than time to lend support to the Ministry of
Agriculture in its call to 'buy local' and turn our much
touted creativity into pro table endeavours."
"Out of evil can indeed come good. For farmers,
entrepreneurs and nanciers alike there is opportunity to
be had in the current economic state. We just have to go
brave," Copeland said.
Deputy Principal Professor Indar Ramnarine, Principal Professor Brian Copeland, FFA Dean, Dr. Wayne Ganpat and Campus Librarian,
Mr. Frank Soodeen toasted the introduction of the University Station Goat's Milk. PHOTO: ATIBA CUDJOE
e Zoology Museum's booth was very popular with the students.
PHOTO: ATIBA CUDJOE
e FFA said that over 200
entrepreneurs took part and more
than 3,500 students from primary
and secondary schools attended.
PHOTO: ANEEL KARIM
Links Archive April 7th 2018 April 9th 2018 Navigation Previous Page Next Page