The goal of the policy is to establish a sustainable seed system that ensures consistent and reliable supply of clean, affordable and accessible seeds, in support of agricultural production, productivity, food security and biodiversity.
Addressing a signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Ministry and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) for the refurbishing of the Bodles Research Station’s seed laboratory and storage facility on April 25 at the Ministry, in New Kingston, Mr. Shaw said there have been some positive developments in the area.
“Through the Clean Seed Development Programme, we have made some strides with the production of clean seeds for both Irish and sweet potato, using biotechnology. The seed programme also currently produces Scotch bonnet pepper, pumpkin, corn and sorrel seeds, which are sold to our farmers,” the Minister informed.
He added that the initiative is at the forefront of the Government’s push to boost agricultural production, and that further expansion is needed.
“Building on those achievements, our proposal is to strengthen the capacity of the Bodles Station and to embark on a comprehensive redevelopment programme there, so that the research and development arm of the Ministry can be revitalised to better serve the needs of the agricultural sector,” the Minister said.
He pointed out that this growth thrust will require more seeds and seedlings, so farmers can have what they need to expand their production and productivity.
The Minister anticipates that the Research and Development Division, through its seed production and storage programme, will deliver these.
The objectives of the National Seed Policy are (a) to facilitate development, evaluation and maintenance of pest-resistant high-yielding varieties that are adaptive to given local agroecological zones and challenges posed by climate change; (b) increase availability and access to clean seed to meet production requirements; (c) improve regulation and monitoring of the seed industry to ensure adherence to quality standards; (d) improve the sustainable marketing and distribution of seeds; and (e) protect national plant genetic resources.
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