ON October 21, The University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Campus launched its first phase of The UWI/China Agricultural University (CAU) Agricultural Innovation Park (AIP) at the University’s East Campus — the 200 acre farm at Orange Grove.

The primary objective of the park is to showcase advanced intensive agricultural production methodologies, using technologies and best practices from China and our indigenous Caribbean knowledge of food production.

Work at the AIP will utilise biotechnology, mechanisation, new varieties and climate- smart intensive agricultural production systems, which will inevitably lead to the building of a sustainable agri-industrial sector in this region.

The Partnership between The UWI St. Augustine and the CAU began officially in 2013.

In his address, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The UWI St. Augustine, Professor Clement Sankat, said “This AIP is probably the most significant step made in recent times by our regional institution towards developing national and regional sustainable food security, as this project is being used as a development model for Caribbean agriculture”.

He added that the park will “re-engineer the way our Small Island Developing States grow and produce food intensively.” The Campus Principal conveyed special thanks to the CAU, especially the Chairman of the University’s Council, Mr. Jiang Peimin, and the other members of his delegation who attended the launch.

He also acknowledged the efforts and support of the Chinese Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Huang Xingyuan. The Principal commended the steadfast diligence and stewardship of the Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, Dr Isaac Bekele and his team. Professor Sankat paid tribute to the local Ministry of Agriculture and affirmed that the success of this first phase of this project was testimony to the overall dedication demonstrated by all the stakeholders, in such a short period of time.

“The momentum to build this model park must continue,” he emphasised.

The words of Chairman Jiang Peimin so suitably summed up the occasions, as he later stated, that “two organisations from such far distances apart, worked so closely in such a short period of time to bring this project to fruition