Jamaica: Work underway to ensure optimal operations at seed storage facility

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries reports that work is underway to ensure optimal operations at the country’s newly renovated seed storage facility, located at the Bodles Research Station. Portfolio Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., who made the disclosure, said activities being undertaken at the facility include in-vitro conservation, as well as in field germplasm.

In-vitro techniques are used for the medium or long-term conservation of plant genetic resources, while field germplasm is the method of using seeds, plants, or plant parts useful in crop breeding, research, and conservation efforts.

“Jamaica, through our research and development, we are finding the best ways to define our best genetics so we can get the best yield and the best plants,” the Minister said.

Photo: Mark Bell 

He was speaking at an event held recently at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens Complex to observe the International Day of Plant Health under the theme “Protecting plants, protecting life.”

This observation is in recognition of the importance of plant health to agriculture, food security, and economic growth. Mr. Charles Jr. also informed that the Ministry is undertaking clean seed work in citrus, ginger, cassava, yam, strawberry, and Irish potato crops. “This is the way for us to protect and advance food security,” he stated.

The Ministry is also moving to step up and modernize its Plant Quarantine Produce Inspection Branch. “This is our national plant protection organization here. We want them to be bolstered so they can better safeguard our country, our agricultural sector, and our environment,” Mr. Charles Jr. explained.

The branch is expected to have a seed and nursery certification unit, designated plant surveillance, and a canine unit to protect, prepare and respond to pest outbreaks. In addition, he said the Ministry is modernizing the support services, such as the research and development division, to better provide support to these critical endeavors.

Other measures which are being implemented with the aim of strengthening Jamaica’s plant health framework include the modernization of the Plants (Quarantine) Act.

This will make way for the enactment of comprehensive legislation that would be consistent with modern phytosanitary best practices.

For more information:
Jamaica Government

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