Thursday, April 25, 2024

‘Cost-cutting’ plant lab

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Farmers and commercial growers in Barbados are set to see reduced production costs as a result of the launch of the National Conservation Commission’s (NCC) Tissue Culture Lab.

With the spanking new facility – the first of its kind in the Eastern Caribbean – being officially opened yesterday and set to produce between 40 000 to 50 000 plants annually, farmers can now prepare to pay cheaper prices for plants.

This was revealed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Drainage, Edison Alleyne, as he spoke during Arbor Day celebrations at the NCC’s Codrington House, St Michael headquarters.

Delivering remarks in the absence of Minister Dr Denis Lowe, who is away on Government business, Alleyne said the lab, which was built at a cost of $65 000, would greatly benefit those in the industry.

“It must be noted that the lab can be of great benefit to farmers and commercial growers through the provision of propagation services, which can positively impact on production costs.

“The lab has the capacity to produce 40 000 to 50 000 plants annually. The NCC looks forward to utilising the lab to produce a wide range of plants for nurseries, landscaping companies and those in the agriculture sector at a much faster and more economical rate,” Alleyne added.

He said it would also offer the NCC an opportunity to share the technology with schools, the University of the West Indies and any other entity which has an interest as part of its educational outreach programme.

Alleyne also revealed that some of the plants species the lab would be concentrating on are bananas, sugar cane, African violets, ginger lilies and yams.

Ashton Pollard, a consultant with the NCC who was responsible for training six NCC employees to work in the lab, said the lab would produce “a lot of plants in a short period of time”.

He said although it was a low-cost project, the lab was comparable with world standards.

Pollard also said it would offer Barbadians new opportunities, including creating jobs while also opening the option of exporting plants. (RB)

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