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History of the Research and Development Division

During St. Lucia's first year as an independent nation, the Research and Development Division was involved in technology generation and adaptation, provision of diagnostic and analytical services, product development or agro-processing training.

 

By the early 1980's two new agricultural institution were established in the country, their primary role being the conduct of research programmes. These were CARDI and the French Technical Mission for Co-operation on Agriculture. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) was introduced later. WINBAN, presently WIBDECO, had its beginnings in 1958 to research on production and marketing of bananas.

 

The activities of the Research and Development Division began to declined since it was created. This Microbiology Laboratory was set up to augment the capability of the Produce Chemist Laboratory to provide services to the newly established St. Lucia Bureau of Standards in the area of food quality monitoring. The pilot plant, an agro-processing facility, which has been part of the Produce Chemist Laboratory was shut down since it was felt that sufficient work had been conducted in the area of agro-processing by the Ministry of Agriculture and that it was now a private sector initiative.

 

In 1996 the Division was once more graced with the services of a full time agronomist. The Agronomy Unit was again created, this time incorporating the soils unit. About this same time, the other agricultural research institutions were no longer active in the areas of crop research. The French Mission scaled down activities in the area of vegetable research while CARDI was in the process of restructuring its organization.

In 1997 the Taiwanese Mission left St. Lucia. The Research and Development Division therefore had to undertake more of crop research exercises.

In 1998, the new Permanent Secretary Agriculture indicated that the Ministry of Agriculture would once again have to involve itself in full-scale research once resources were available.

Hence it is anticipated that in the near future, the Research and Development Division would re-organise itself to permit more research oriented activities while continuing to improve its diagnostic capabilities. The major challenges would be to efficiently utilize the limited resources allocated to the Division to provide better technical support to the technology transfer arm of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The RADD in 1999 has four technical units and twenty members of staff. The technical units as follows:

 


Food Technology Unit (Analytical and Microbiology Lab)

Agronomy and Soils Unit

Crop Protection and Quarantine Unit

Tissue Culture Unit (plantlet production)