Speaking in GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands director at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Michael Hailu said the organisation is working on strengthening linkages for agricultural producers in the Caribbean to expand their markets.

According to Hailu, one of CTA’s projects in cooperation with the Caribbean Farmers Network and the Sandals Foundation, is working to strengthen linkages to domestic, regional and export markets in eight countries. CTA plans to expand this project to several other countries including Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Some of the most encouraging results of our work involves linking producers to private financial institutions, and I believe there is tremendous scope for building on this approach in the future,” Hailu argued.

The CTA is also playing a major role in advancing use of mobile applications and other information communications technology (ICT) platforms in developing agriculture.

“Given CTA’s comparative advantage of working in the area of ICTs, especially in training and supporting young ICT entrepreneurs, we promote ICTs, more specifically mobile apps, to enhance various aspects of the value chain,” said Hailu.

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Barbados To Hold Virtual Town Hall Meetings To Court Youth Engagement

As Barbados looks towards another 50 years of technological advances, a series of virtual town hall meetings are being planned for the youth. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for  telecommunications in Barbados, Senator Darcy Boyce, said that the events would be targeted so young people “could say to us how they see the technology going, how they feel we ought to respond to that, and what role they can play in it”.

He insisted that it was critical to make decisions now while listening to the voice of the nation’s youth, as they were the island’s future. With this in mind, the senator therefore lauded telecommunications company Digicel for launching the island’s first CoderDojo free coding club programme for 50 students.

Admitting that it would not be fair to allow the private sector to finance this burden alone, he suggested that it may be necessary to look at the Universal Service Fund to find support for this initiative. “This Universal Service Fund is an arrangement where, a very small fee is attached to communications bills, that allows you to go into a dedicated fund for the public good in the telecommunications industry, so when you pay your phone bill, there may be a little cent or two that goes into funding the broadband support that schools would need to have,” Boyce explained.

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Government Of Jamaica Moves To Support Development In Science and Technology

The government plans on putting policies, laws and regulations in place to foster the development of the local science and technology sector.

Speaking at a Proclamation ceremony for Science and Technology Month held at King’s House this week, Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, said the move is critical in creating the enabling environment that will increase the contribution of science and technology to national progress.

“This includes undertaking strategies to bolster our capacity for research and development, and applying and adapting science and technology to practical and productive uses. These strategies are key to laying the foundation for our long-term transition to a knowledge-based society and innovation-based economy that is globally competitive,” Wheatley said.      

The month is being observed in November under the theme ‘Science, Technology and Innovation: Stimuli for Health, Wealth and Wellness’.

Dr Wheatley said the strategy for the science portfolio includes encouraging research as the basis for decision-making, the commercialisation of research and innovation, encouraging the innovative use and application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) by private enterprises and government, and the establishment of a dynamic and responsive national innovation system.

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