Two new educational projects aimed at strengthening the island’s food security and agricultural research are soon to be launched with funding from the Government of China.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Betty Alleyne-Headley said the upcoming projects will be executed at two separate locations.
“The two projects are the HOPE Agricultural Training Project, which is at Hope Road, St Lucy, and Dukes which is under the UWI Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship,” she said during a discussion on the 2022/2023 Estimates.
“Both of these would have been conceptualised by the Ministry of Education back in 2008. Both of the projects were selected for funding at approximately $74 million,” she said.
Alleyne-Headley said the HOPE project will cover a variety of areas within agriculture research.
“The project at Hope is expected to be completed within a 15-month period and that training facility will primarily support agriculture programmes at the tertiary level institutions, along with primary and secondary schools in the north participating. That facility is designed to provide practical training facilities on 45 acres of land, which will focus on both livestock rearing and crop production.
“In addition, there will be provision for residence halls for students, demonstration facilities for fruit and vegetable processing, greenhouse technologies, laboratory management and research lab facilities for faculty and students. The project will commence with the rearing of livestock, inclusive of black belly sheep,” she added.
Alleyne-Headley said construction logistics for the HOPE project are still being finalised, with a commencement date expected in the next few months.
On the other hand, the Duke project, aimed at promoting innovation within non-traditional areas and adding value into crop production, is at a further stage.
“All the construction designs have been completed and we are at the point where the utilities can be installed at that project, and once that is completed, the Chinese will then be ready to begin the construction process,” Alleyne-Headley said. (SB)