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UWI pledges support for local cocoa industry

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The University of the West Indies (UWI) has pledged its commitment to the Ministry of Agriculture in assisting with the development of the local cocoa industry.{{more}}

In a letter to Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, dated September 15, 2014, the Cocoa Research Centre at UWI, St Augustine Campus, expressed pleasure in offering assistance in the “modernisation of the Cocoa Industry in St Vincent and the Grenadines using the value chain approach.”

In the letter, head of the Cocoa Research Centre Dr Pathmanathan Umaharan stated that his department could assist with training, and could also support the Ministry in getting international funding towards the further development of the industry.

“We can work with you both with regard to the development of a strategic plan as well as providing the necessary technical backstopping through training, technical assistance and provision of services,” said Umaharan.

The letter went on to state that the Cocoa Research Centre has recently received funding from the EU/ACP (Science and Technology Fund) to set up an International Fine Cocoa Innovation Centre at the St Augustine Campus.

It is intended to “support innovation and training along the entire value chain from production, processing, quality management, value addition and marketing.”

Dr Umaharan stated that this project would catapult the regional cocoa industry from its present state into a “modern vertically integrated industry” that is capable of providing employment opportunities for its citizens.

The letter also states that the Cocoa Research Centre is working on establishing a website through which all of the participating countries within the Caribbean can share their best practices.

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