UB Imprint Vol 32: UB Positions Itself in the Caribbean through its Focus on Agricultural Education

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UB Imprint Vol 32: UB Positions Itself in the Caribbean through its Focus on Agricultural Education

UB Positions Itself in the Caribbean through its Focus on Agricultural Education at the Caribbean Food Crops Society 54th Meeting in Belize

The Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS) held its 54th Annual Meeting in Belize at the Ramada Princess Hotel in Belize City during July 8-13, 2018. The meeting was held under the theme “Multi-functionality of Agriculture in the Caribbean Basin in Countries with Predominant Tourist Industries”. The formal inauguration was held on July 9 where key speakers welcomed the participants. Senator Hon. Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment, Sustainable Development, and Immigration was the first speaker to deliver remarks. He was followed by the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Dr. Manuel Otero. Director General of the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Mr. Barton Clarke; Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, and Chair of the CFCS Dr. Wilfredo Colón also welcomed everyone, the vast majority being from the Caribbean (English, French, Spanish and Dutch) countries and the Americas.

Professor Sankat commended CFCS for their commitment to be the “one umbrella organization that brings Caribbean researchers/scholars/professionals/practitioners in Agriculture together annually, sharing our knowledge, research and best practices to advance the cause of the Agriculture Sector in the Caribbean.” He also noted that this was the very first time that Belize hosted the CFCS Meeting in its 55-year-old history. The President thanked the Minister of Agriculture Senator Honourable Godwin Hulse and his technical team from the Ministry in hosting this event, with planning taking place in only a few months.

The second day was marked by the President giving an insightful presentation which served as the capstone of the morning session. He spoke concisely on the history of the University’s engagement in agriculture and its current development initiatives in this area.

The primary focus of President Sankat’s discourse highlighted the importance of agricultural programs in the region and within the University of Belize. He highlighted how the University of Belize is responding to the needs of the Agricultural Sector characterized by:
• Programs that promote self-employment, knowledge and skills development for the practice of entrepreneurship and market driven agriculture, meeting the human resource needs of the private sector and a lessened focus on the traditional training for the public service.
• Enhanced rural development and poverty reduction, providing educational opportunities for the at risk youth – flexibility and opportunity
• Placing sustainable development and natural resource management, environmental and climate smart themes into our training
• Learning and interrogating food and agriculture as a system of production and opportunities – from ‘farm to table’.
• Strengthening leadership, knowledge and skills – through communication, farm/agribusiness management, community and industry engagement, project management training together with the development of personal values and attitudes.

The President’s welcome speech is available at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/presidents-remarks-opening-ceremony-caribbean-food-crops-society/.

Powerpoint presentation: https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/undergraduate-agricultural-training-at-university-of-belize-cfcs/

On the opening day, courtesy of the CFCS and the Ministry, twenty students of the University of Belize were invited to attend. Students from other Caribbean countries, were also present.
The Central Farm Campus Faculty were also present and had posters displayed. The titles of the posters were:
“Cultivating Success at UB: Preparing 21st Century Students for Market-Driven Entrepreneurial Agriculture | Crop Production” by Francisco Tzul, Zoe Zetina and Jenilee Donis
“Livestock Training at UB” by Luis Hernandez and Trinidad Mendez
“UB Generating Entrepreneurs: Using an Innovative Model to Deliver a Social Good” by Zoe Zetina, Francisco Tzul and Jenilee Donis
“Micropropagation for Production: Quality Banana, Pineapples, & Sugarcane Planting Material in Belize” by Marco Cordova, Kenny Balan, Selvin Vidal and Rene Cerde Jr.

The posters are available at: https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/central-farm-posters-presented-at-caribbean-food-crops-society-meeting/

The Central Farm Campus also welcomed the delegation from the Caribbean and the Americas on Friday to the Campus at Cayo, where they learnt of the work UB is doing in agricultural education and toured the farm facilities, which were described as a “living laboratory for agriculture”.

The President wishes to commend the UBCF team lead by Mrs. Zoe Zetina, Mr. Francisco Tzul, Mr. Luis Hernandez, and Mr. Trinidad Mendez for the excellent work they did in mobilising and supporting the CFCS Conference. Also for making the Central Farm Campus welcoming and attractive, and for which UB was given a lot of compliments.

President Sankat was also invited to address the Opening of CACHE’s Annual General Assembly on July 10, 2018 at the Ramada Princess Hotel, Belize City. President’s address focused on “Agriculture, and the Undergraduate education offered at UB.” His address is available at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/presidents-remarks-at-xxi-agm-of-caribbean-council-of-higher-education-in-agriculture/.

At the meeting, CACHE’s Chairman Dr. Wayne Ganpat who is also Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture of The University of West Indies, Trinidad, and the Executive Secretary of CACHE Dr. Cesar Cruz of the Dominican Republic, welcomed the UB and its Central Farm Campus into the CACHE organization. This may allow the UB to attract resources to teach/research through the CACHE network.

CACHE also recognized the group, Nago Bank Cooperative of the Belize District for their contribution to the Agricultural Development in Belize on the recommendation of the UB Central Farm Campus and the Ministry of Agriculture.