Thursday, April 25, 2024

UWI looks to diversify

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The University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, is embarking on a multimillion-dollar agricultural project that will transform the agriculture industry.

With the help of the Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship, UWI will be utilising 28.5 acres of land on Dukes Plantation to construct a state-of-the-art agro-business park that will encompass a number of agronomic aspects.

The project was highlighted by the principal of the campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau, Saturday as she addressed an audience at the Centre for Food Security & Entrepreneurship Exquisite Local and Caribbean Product launch held at Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, Holetown, St James.

During her speech she said that a modern approach to agriculture was needed to show how far the industry could be developed.

“The first phase of the construction of the Dukes Agro-Business Development Park . . . is expected to begin this year. While a large portion of the land will be allocated for farming there will be facilities for agro-processing, chocolate manufacturing, training and cotton processing.”

The facility would also have retail outlets, restaurants, a 300-seat conference room and it would also be marketed as a place of interest as locals and tourists will be able to gain tangible experience in cotton and chocolate production.

Barriteau said that the university was going beyond the traditional concept of a tertiary learning institution as its purpose was not only to equip students with knowledge in their respective fields of choice but to contribute to the economy in a major and multifaceted way.

“The park will not only offer a diverse range of employment opportunities, but will position Barbados to become a regional hub for entrepreneurial development, educational training and cutting edge agro-business research.”

Barriteau added that new degree programmes, such, as a gourmet chocolatier Masters, were being developed to support this initiative.

A number of intricately made local products such as Blackbelly sheep leather handbags and shoes, skin care products and clothing made from West Indian Sea Island cotton, were on display yesterday. (SB)

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