CASE Lecturers and Students form the latest cohort of Plant Doctors in Jamaica: Plantwise Plant Doctor Training 2021
How did Plantwise get started in Jamaica?
The implementation of the Plantwise Plant Doctor Programme in Jamaica began in 2015 through a partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) and CABI. CABI (Centre of Agriculture and Bioscience International), is an international, inter-governmental, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve people's lives worldwide by providing information and applying expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. The programme is being implemented by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). Activities such as data management and training are strongly supported by members from the ministry’s Research & Development Division (R&DD) - Bodles and the Plant Quarantine/Produce Inspection (PQ/PI) Branch. There is also a National Steering Committee which provides oversight, coordination and guidance for the programme.
How did CASE get involved?
In 2019, Mr Dwayne Henry from RADA approached members of the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) to introduce the programme and the benefits that this robust course could have on their students and the wider Jamaica. Later, RADA had several engagements with the college with the following objectives:
- To improve linkages between education (CASE), extension (RADA) and research (R&DD) through synergies in skills and resources sharing
- To improve job readiness of the new entrants into the agricultural sector through capacity building
Under the Plantwise Plant Doctor Agreement & Work Plan 2021, Nine (9) participants (lecturers, managers and students) from the college were trained in modules 1 & 2 of the course: How to Become A Plant Doctor by Jamaica’s very own Trainer of Trainers (ToTs) from RADA, R&DD-Bodles, and PQ/PI. This training was done over a four (4) day period on the grounds of the College through a series of lectures, discussions and activities to ensure an enriching learning experience. Due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the sessions were carried out through a virtual platform. Participants were given the opportunity to apply their understanding of field diagnosis through a plant clinic which was organized by the RADA Portland parish office. Farmers came from various extension areas with samples of plants and fruits with varied pest issues for Plant Doctors and trainees to assist with diagnosis and management advice.
Participants successfully completed the course and a graduation ceremony was held to mark this momentous occasion on Friday, September 17, 2021. The President of the College, Dr Deslandes and the Regional Coordinator from CABI, Dr Eduardo Hidalgo gave Opening Remarks and expressed their gratitude and hopes for the programme through this new partnership. Participants (Lecturer & Students) gave ttestimonials on how impactful their participation has been and each participant was awarded with a certificate for their participation in the training.
Where do we go from here?
Further engagements will be made with the college and stakeholders to continue the exploration of:
- The possibility of integrating PD training content into CASE curriculum
- HR policy for hiring staff, that applicants with Certificate of PD Training to be given additional score points (extension/research positions which include pest /pesticide management)