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Chrysallis Research Magazine

Issue #3

March 2018


can the Caribbean Become Self-reliant?

ISSN 2415-0665

Outgoing Team Members

Andrea Veira Coordinator & Editor

Darlene Field Assistant Coordinator & Assistant Editor

Cherysa Anselm Assistant Editor

Christopher Charles Assistant Editor

Virgil Bideau Assistant Editor

Juliet Cumberbatch Assistant Editor

Michelle Burke Assistant Editor

Jovel Warrican Assistant Editor & PRO Social Media

Tamaisha Eytle PRO Social Media

James Young Assistant Editor

Lynn Beckles Blog Administrator

Nya Greenidge Assistant Editor

Michael Mayers Graphic Designer

Adrianna Brathwaite Assistant Editor

Outgoing Editor’s Message Andrea K. Veira

This is our first special issue under the theme: Food Security, can we become self-reliant? In the Caribbean,

we have a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and root crops as well as small ruminants. We also have numerous plants with medicinal values mostly untapped. Our resources include volcanic soil, plantation size lands, small farms, water, solar power and flat lands. With these resources, there is great potential for exploration and improvement through mechanisation, agroecology, biofuels and biotechnology. Modernisation of agriculture can lead to improvements in market availability, climate resilient agriculture and increased yields. Agriculture can then impact on tourism, health, research, science and technology.

Our articles in this issue span the research carried out in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Trinidad and Barbados. We hear

from our Spanish speaking countries on their projects that focus on the human aspect of food security. Improvements in yield are examined through utilisation of humans to increase availability of food to our region. We hold the power to impart science into the one industry that we cannot live without, the industry that gives us food security and reduced hunger. Plant breeding techniques, female empowerment and the use of local innovation projects are just a few methods used in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Our special issue continues with Bio-economies and the Israeli approach that gives us food for thought on whether we should consider implementing similar ideas regionally. The classification of some of our earth’s land as an island, allows us to ponder on utilisation of space for agriculture. Finally, we hear from our young researchers on the potential benefits of biochar and biofuels.

We are a region of historical agricultural backgrounds, we produce our food and so the utilisation of modern

techniques is absolutely necessary to ensure sustainability. This special issue is intended to inspire creative thought to ensure and further encourage the continued existence of growing our own food as a region. We thank you for your support and readership over the years and introduce you to our new executive led by incoming Editor Sanya Compton.

Published By: Chrysallis Research Magazine Faculty of Science and Technology The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus P.O. Box 64 Bridgetown, Barbados, 8811000

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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Table of Contents The Postgraduate Scholarship Awardees 2017-2018............................................................. 1 Approaching self-reliance the Israeli way.............................................................................. 3 Biogas production: A sustainable option for Barbados.......................................................... 6 The empowerment of rural women: the viable option for food security in Cuba................... 7 Biochar as a Soil Amendment .............................................................................................. 9 Did you say island?............................................................................................................... 11 Featuring the Undergraduates from Tropical Crop Ecology (ECOL 3463) Semester I 20172018.................................................................................................................................... 14 Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) in Cuba, farmers and scientists working together........... 16 Implementation of the Local Agricultural Innovation Project (PIAL) in the municipality GĂźines, Mayabeque, Cuba and its contribution to food security.......................................... 17 Women in Agriculture.......................................................................................................... 19 Self-reliance through a Bio-economy ................................................................................... 22 Introducing the Incoming Chrysallis Research Magazine Team............................................ 25

Chrysallis Research Magazine


Awardees and Staff

Principal Cave Hill Campus, Prof. Eudine Barriteau advising awardees

The annual breakfast UWI postgraduate awardees ceremony was held in November 2017 at the 3Ws Oval, Cave Hill Campus. At this ceremony, four postgraduate scholarships and eleven postgraduate fee waiver scholarships were awarded. Most of the awardees learned about the scholarship through the Graduate Studies website: http://www. and expressed gratitude for the financial assistance. Those in attendance were featured: Scholarship Awardee: Paula Alleyne Qualifications: BSc (Psychology), MSc. (Project Management and Evaluation) Present Program: MPhil (Sociology)- Rex Nettleford Topic: Examination of the transition process of youth in Barbadian State Care to independent living Scholarship Awardee: Rhyesa Joseph Qualifications: BSc. (Political Science with International Relations) Present Program: MPhil. (Political Science) Topic: Creole governance in St. Lucia Scholarship Awardee: Chavier Cummins- (Elsa Goveia) Qualifications: BA. (History) Present Program: MPhil. (History) Topic: Examining Wintercrawford’s contribution to the social, political and economic development of Barbados Scholarship Awardee: Arianne Richardson Qualifications: BS (Entrepeneurship), MS (Entertainment Business) Present Program: MPhil. (Cultural Studies) Topic: “Socio-Cultural factors that inhibit entrepreneurship in the Cultural Industries of The Bahamas” utilizing the findings to reverse the trend and encourage youth to explore the Cultural Industries as a viable career option.

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Scholarship Awardee: Dr. Stephanie Date Qualifications: MBBS Present Program: MPhil. (Pharmacology) Topic: How effective is Metformin therapy in delaying the onset of endometrial cancer in Barbadian Post-menopausal women with Type 2 Diabetes Scholarship Awardee: Kim Archer Qualifications: BSc. (Chemistry and Mathematics), MSc. (Drug Chemistry) Present Program: PhD. (Pharmacology) Topic: Validating the folklore anti-diabetic uses of three tropical plants (Mormordica charantia, Phyllanthus niruri and Catharanthus roseus) found in Barbados and the isolation of potential drug leads for the management of Type 2 diabetes Scholarship Awardee: Olvine Holas (Present CHAPS President) Qualifications: BSc. (Management), MSc. (International Management) Present Program: MPhil (Leadership and Management) Topic: Effectiveness of leadership in the Caribbean specifically examining Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados Scholarship Awardee: Andrew Squires Qualifications: BSc. (Computer Science and Mathematics), MSc. (Computer Science), Dip. Ed. Present Program: PhD. (Education) Topic: Examination of how leadership affects the culture and climate of schools in Barbados Scholarship Awardee: CJ Bonadie Qualifications: BSc. (Computer Science) Present Program: MPhil. (Computer Science) Topic: Machine Learning in agriculture in Barbados Scholarship Awardee: Sanya Compton Qualifications: BSc. (Marine Science with Environmental Science), MSc. (Marine Science focus on Marine Policy) Present Program: PhD (Natural Resource Management) Topic: Exploring marine governance focussing on intersectoral mechanisms for improving natural resource management throughout the Caribbean

Director Graduate Studies and Research, Cave Hill Campus, Prof. Eddy Ventose

PVC Graduate Studies and Research, Prof. Dale Webber

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APPROACHING SELF-RELIANCE THE ISRAELI WAY Instead of trying to change their surrounding environs, they invested in crop specific varieties that were suited to their environment. More importantly they invested in crops with high economic returns such as dates, which is an international delicacy and argan which is used in the cosmetic industry for hair products. Similarly, can our region invest in or develop crop varieties that can withstand our rainy and dry seasons? Energy sustainability in the kibbutz is achieved with

Nakisha Mark The ability to attain food, energy and environmental sustainability through agriculture is a reality in the Arava Valley of Israel, making them self- reliant. Could a similar approach be adopted in our Caribbean region? A question I repeatedly ask myself after a visit to Israel almost three years ago. In the Arava Valley there are many kibbutzim whose economy is based on agricultural activities. Using Kibbutz

the installation of a solar farm and careful utilization of water. The electricity generated on the solar farm is sold to the government and is a financial generator of the kibbutz. Caribbean families are often faced with electrical bills that are financial burdens, therefore for these families the utilization of solar energy to generate electricity can be a solution which could definitely enable self-reliance. The chemical understanding that Red algae produces astaxanthin, a compound said to have antiaging properties was enough to get members of kibbutz Ketura on board in the production of Red algae, despite

Ketura as an example one will appreciate the saying “Make something out of nothing�, this is indeed the reality of self -sufficient Kibbutz Ketura. Despite being located in the desert with scorching temperatures up to 43°C, relative humidity as low as 15%, an approximate yearly rainfall of 30mm and high saline soil, agricultural activities is a significant contributor to the economy of Kibbutz Ketura. Even with such harsh conditions one could find Phoenix dactylifera (dates) orchard and Argania spinosa (argan) being grown in vast quantities for exportation to Europe. The approach adapted by the Kibbutz is the acceptance of the harsh conditions.

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Photo 1: Ara

the unavailability of water. Contrastingly, wastewater was appropriately treated and reused for the production of Red algae in vast quantities so that astaxanthin could be exported to cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies at a price of US$400/ kg. This is another example whereby the conditions of the kibbutz did not deter the attitude of self- reliance. The use of waste water for Red algae production is also an example of environmental sustainability. This

Photo 2: Dates Orchard in the Arava Valley

kibbutz has also developed biogas digesters which convert vegetable waste from the kitchen to biogas that can be used by biogas stoves; this is an example of environmental responsiveness. The water from the Sea of Galilee has been over utilized over the years and has resulted in the progressive evaporation of water from the Dead Sea. To achieve environmental sustainability, a Red Sea – Dead Sea Conduit (Canal) Project in collaboration with Israel, Jordan and Palestine authorities will provide potable water to the aforementioned nations, with the hope that geo-political stability for the region is attained. Setting differences aside is another means whereby this region in the Middle East has shown self- reliance. So again I ponder “Is it impossible for our Caribbean region to become self-reliant?�

ava landscape

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My work is situated around biogas production

This process when used in conjunction with

through anaerobic microbial degradation[1,2]. Biogas

agriculture can improve the self-sustainability of

is a mixture of carbon dioxide and methane gas and is

Caribbean territories. Crops such as cassava and sweet

produced from microbial degradation of bio-organic

potatoes can be grown for food production, and the

matter, under oxygen free conditions. The methane in

remaining vegetative matter left over after the harvest can

the biogas is flammable, (making it) a source of energy,

be used in the anaerobic digestion process. The biogas

that can be used to produce heat or generate electricity.

produced can be used for cooking on the farm, or can

An example of this is given in Figure 1. Since biogas

even be converted into compressed natural gas (CNC)

is produced from bio-organic matter, it becomes a

to operate vehicles on the farm. Finally, the effluent

renewable energy resource, once the feed in substrates

produced can be used to fertilize the crops in the fields.

are replenished.

The process of biogas production reduces the reliance on both diesel and fertilizer imports; by improving the nutrient conditions in the soil, it can improve the yield of the harvest. I have studied several wild grasses around the island, assessing Barbados’ potential for biogas production. My

Figure 1: Combustion of methane gas from laboratory scale bioreactor

The feedstock can be animal faeces, or plant matter, such as grass cuttings collected from landscaping projects,

results have helped me to conclude that biogas production is viable in Barbados. In partnering with various groups it was determined that this technology is also viable in some other countries within the region (e.g. Dominica and Grenada).

or unwanted plant material after a harvest, such as cane

Figure 3 shows a picture from the Royal Academy

bagasse. The process occurs in an anaerobic bioreactor

of Engineering Workshop on Bioenergy and Seawater

(Figure 2) and not only produces biogas, but also a

Cooling, in which I participated. This workshop

nutrient rich effluent, which can be used as a fertilizer

featured several important organizations and persons in

for plants.

this sector. This biotechnology can directly integrate

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Figure 2: Industrial bioreactor in Barbados

Figure 3: Presentation on my work at the Royal Academy of Engineering Workshop on Bioenergy and Seawater Cooling

with the agricultural sector and it can improve our selfsustainability in the Caribbean.

References 1. Yen, H.-W., E. Brune, D.: Anaerobic co-digestion of algal sludge and waste paper to produce methane. Bioresource Technology 98, 130-134 (2007). 2. H. K. Ahn, M.C.S., S. L. Kondrad, J. W. White: Evaluation of Biogas Production Potential by Dry Anaerobic Digestion of Switchgrass–Animal Manure Mixtures. Applied Biochemical Biotechnology 160, 965975 (2010).

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El Capitolio in Havana, Cuba

The elaboration of strategies for local development

resources and work tools, as well as decision-making,

using a gender approach is an alternative to consider

both individual and collective. These programmes

from an impartial viewpoint. The historical inequalities

allow confidence and belief in the capability and

and the persistence of many gender gaps in society

legitimacy of women to occupy roles as decision-makers.

strengthen the need for this consideration. It is necessary

Empowerment is encouraged when participation in

to recognize the effects caused by the Cuban Revolution

decision-making and organizational skills are required

in the situation of men and women. There is still a lack of

to achieve a common goal. This article presents some

equality between the educational levels achieved by men

experiences women have had in strengthening rural

and women and women’s access to certain opportunities.

agricultural development. The experiences are based on

Empowerment programmes are frequently

local alternatives aimed at achieving food security for

implemented allowing women access to financial

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rural communities.

other roles in the agricultural sector. In order to increase capacity, a set of actions were developed in response to existing limitations. Such actions included highlighting peasant schools, hosting fairs, exchanging experiences and facilitating training workshops on various relevant topics. Through these actions significant transformations were achieved. Resultantly, horticultural vegetable gardens became a practice that enriched the role of women placing a focus on family life which provided

Orquidea Hailyn Abreu Gonzรกlez An analysis of gender approach using a participatory process showed that the organisers in coordination with scientific research institutes and universities developed innovative options to empower women economically and socially. In the communities, women were trained to multiply innovations and in so doing, became local leaders through the creation of family gardens and patios for family and community self-consumption.

benefits at the local level. It allowed women access to knowledge and materials, namely: quality seeds, peasant experimentation, the adoption of species and varieties of vegetables, condiments and medicinal plants (unknown until now), management and conservation of soils. All this contributed to the increase of the productive potential of the farms and the sources of economic income. Additionally, it provided a better quality of life to families and communities, increasing nutritional, environmental and social well-being as a real option for local food security.

The impacts or quantitative and qualitative changes that occur directly in the target groups or beneficiaries, as well as indirectly in the rural communities were evaluated through indicators. Some of these indicators included: a) participation in agricultural tasks, b) work in the gardens, c) conservation of food, d) added value to production and e) marketing of preserves; which were also mentioned as those that most affected the discrimination of women. Based on the indicators, low values were observed among the experimental groups in the following areas: food conservation and participation/integration of new generations of people in agriculture. The lack of awareness about management techniques in horticultural production and preparation of preserves was attributed to gender gaps and restrictions on access to occupying

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Production of Biochar Biochar is produced from a variety of biomass (agricultural residues, wood chips, manure and municipal Biochar, a fine-grained charcoal (Blackwell, Riethmuller, and Collins 2009) is made by a process called pyrolysis heating carbon rich organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Pyrolysis stabilizes carbon and captures gases normally released through natural decomposition (Hossain et al. 2011). The black earth or ‘terra preta’ in the Amazon basin is the best example of biochar. Charcoal remains from burned jungles are combined with manure to enrich nutrient- deficient clay soil. Unlike compost, biochar does not easily decompose and its benefits can last for hundreds of years (Lehmann 2009, Major 2010).

solid waste) processed in thermal treatments like slow pyrolysis, which is the most widely used due to its moderate operating conditions and attractive yields (Major 2010). The production of Biochar leads to energy production during pyrolysis. This can generate electricity and provide heat for temperate homes and industries. Combustible gases like hydrogen are captured during pyrolysis. This valuable fuel can be sold or used on site for energy production (Schahczenski 2010).

Agricultural and Turf Benefits of Biochar Apart from nutrition and water retention, biochar also improves pH balance, and efficiently transports fertilizers and minerals to plant roots. Crop yields have increased measurably over many cycles after a single-biochar application (Major 2010 and Blackwell, Riethmuller, and Collins 2009).

A pile of biochar

Biochar also benefits turf grass cultivation by improving moisture retention, reducing water requirements and decreasing fertilizer use. Herbicide and

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pesticide levels are also reduced. Biochar can be mixed

Artur Ziolkowski, and Peter F Nelson. 2011. “Influence

with sand, top soil and compost prior to its application.

of pyrolysis temperature on production and nutrient

This results in a visibly fuller turf and landscape with

properties of wastewater sludge biochar.” Journal of

improved vitality and longevity, maintained with less

Environmental Management no. 92 (1):223-228.

water. The use of Biochar can improve turfs and lawns provided for recreational and tourist activities including

Lehmann, J. 2009. “Terra preta Nova–where to from

golf, sporting fields and parks.

here?” In Amazonian Dark Earths: Wim Sombroek’s

Challenges Associated with Biochar Production It is still relatively expensive to produce, market, transport and apply Biochar on large scales.


Vision, 473-486. Springer. Major, Julie. 2010. “Guidelines on practical aspects of biochar application to field soil in various soil management systems.” International Biochar Initiative.

attractiveness as a soil conditioner for specific crop types, long term carbon sink and ease of incorporation

Schahczenski, Jeff. 2010. “Biochar and sustainable

into current farming methods will continue to drive

agriculture.” A Publication of ATTRA—National

research into removing obstacles to its adoption in large

Sustainable Agriculture Information Service no. 2:1-12.

scale farming (Seagle and Iverson 2001). In Barbados, my research intends to identify, investigate and develop

Seagle, Eddie Dean, and Maynard Iverson. 2001.

new sustainable and economical methods of converting

Characteristics of the turfgrass industry in 2020: A

organic wastes from the Barbados landfill and other

Delphi study with implications for agricultural education

sustainable sources into potentially different grades of

programs, University of Georgia.

Biochar. The Biochar will then be tested on turf grass for improvements to soil moisture absorption, nutrient adsorption, water retention and Carbon sequestration. Barbados is a water scarce country and results from my biochar work can also potentially reduce the diversion of potable water from domestic demand to irrigation.

References Blackwell, Paul, Glen Riethmuller, and Mike Collins. 2009. “Biochar application to soil.” Biochar for environmental management: science and technology:207-226. Hossain, Mustafa K, Vladimir Strezov, K Yin Chan,

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DID YOU SAY ISLAND? aspects related to their place in the world puzzle: status, geopolitics, migrations, anthropology, economy, tourism, biodiversity, biogeography, and so on. The 2013 Kiribati government’s decision to buy higher land for the eventual relocation of its population brings forth new issues to be given attention. We argue that it is important to make visible individual islands, usually phagocytized under a group or under a continental state. They are part of the puzzle (PRIAM J., 2004, p. 60)

Judith Priam

and contribute to the whole and so much more than the

of systems. By example, ensuring that the people of an

We formulated in 2004 a conceptualization for Caribbean islands under “simple insularity” and “double insularity” (PRIAM J., 2004, pp.129-131), presented

sum of the parts: they contribute to emergent properties island have sustainable means of producing food, leads to the use of land and actions that transform the whole: auto sufficiency vis-a-via a mainland, changes in terms of exchanges within a metropolis. Contrastingly, the loss of

during the CIEMADES Conference in Puerto-Rico in 2006, under the title “Caribbean Islands: a sustainable development facing political criticity” (http://ciemades. org/pdfs/CIEMADeS-2006-Preliminary-Program1.pdf ). This book offers a revisited and deeper work proposing an operational conceptualization that applies to islands worldwide, leaning heavily on the Caribbean. We argue that the definition for island must encompass a wider view. We demonstrate that it corresponds to a juridical and political definition in its origins. The majority of islands are “ghost” or “forgotten islands” (PRIAM J., 2004, p. 60) and we call for recognition of those geographical entities on worldwide, regional and local maps.

Given the emerging

considerations regarding sea-level rise it is urgent to adopt an operational conceptualization to better evaluate many

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Map 1: The Carterets (called Tuluun islands, or even the Cartere Islands), are located 86 km north-east of Bougainv

auto sufficiency on an island due to salt water intrusion,

province, represent the oldest reported case of climate

would mean new relations with the Metropolis, which

change impact in the late 80’s. The leader of the group,

can even become a final land to move to.

Ursula RAKOVA spoke again, during COP 21 held in

Food security is addressed in Chapter 4 of our book, under “New interconnections: from the vicinity of an

Paris from the 30th of November through the 12th of December 2015. Resettlement is in process […]

archipelago to a wider scale”, and highlighted by Dr. Carl Axel Soderberg –previous Director of the EPA-

In a video available in a weblink of an article done

Caribbean Region- in its Prologue of the book as follows

by the leader of the Carteret Islands, Ursula RAKOVA

(in Priam J., nov 2016, BiblioServices Press, San Juan,

(2009), we learn how insular roots are fundamental

p. 12):

within what they called their ancestral homeland: Climate Change will have a greater impact on fresh

The Carterets is a small group of islands, and Han

water availability on islands due to sea level rise. Sea

Island is one of them. My name is Nicholas Hakata. I

level rise will increase salt water intrusion to aquifers

am from the Carteret Islands. It’s a holiday paradise

and rivers (on islands that have such surface waters).

island. […] Only one thing is wrong, the sea is eating

As a result, wells that supply drinking water or water

our Han Island, and making it smaller. We never

for agriculture will be closed. As well as water supply

realized the King tides would destroy our island. It looks

intakes located in river segments near the coast. Sea level rise will have similar impacts on

like in the future, there will be no island.

et Atoll or Carteret ville.

Islanders are thinking about going somewhere

coastal countries in continents. The

else, and are looking for a place somewhere on the

difference is that we will not have

Bougainville mainland where we can produce for

an option to make up for those losses

ourselves. Recently in the community we held meetings

with other sources in the hinterland.

and decided on ways to follow that will sustain life. In the future we will keep coming to those reefs and

We showed in the case of islanders

manage them as our fishing ground. Our reefs will be a

from the Carterets where family

source of income. When our children come back, they

agriculture couldn’t be sustained

will have a connection to their heritage. This is our

anymore that migration became the

ancestral homeland.

unique solution (in Priam J., nov 2016, pp. 136-145):

Some emerging relations between Kiribati and Fiji Islands are open to an amplification of our

The Carterets illustrate our

conceptualization. Sea-level rise may destroy inter-insular

inter-insular interconnection […].

relations opportunities and open them to wider relations.

In fact, the Carteret islands (Map

There may be for example inter-island solidarities. In

1) located in the North Solomon

fact, it is our hypothesis that inhabitants of islands may prefer another island to settle, instead of continents. In

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other instances, some islanders could consider to move to the mainland to avoid insular fears they don’t want anymore. The 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean showed the resurgence of some old solidarity as Saint-Martin within Guadeloupe as it was part of previously. Finally, the Guyana proposal to be a land for Caribbean islanders affected during Maria, is an example of solidarities in process. For more elements about revisiting what is an island, climate change effects and impacts on agriculture and fishing among others please visit: com/site/didyousayislandnov2016/.

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This section showcases in the links below posters, presentations and projects carried out by undergraduate final year students who completed the Tropical Crop Ecology (ECOL 3463) Coursework in Semester One 2017 at The UWI, Cave Hill Campus. We share with you some of their hard work. Lecturers on the course were: Dr. Francis B. Lopez, Mr. Jeff Chandler, Dr. Carol Hull Jackson and Graduate Assistant Andrea K. Veira. Crops include: • Breadfruit • Cocoa • Ginger • Turmeric • Sweet Potato • Sugarcane • Nutmeg • Guava • Bajan Cherry • PEG Farms

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Conventional breeding is usually a system based on programmes designed and developed by researchers

the dissemination of varieties depending on the interests and needs of those involved.

in research institutes without taking into account the

In addition to the four basic stages of the PPB, other

needs and skills of farmers (1). This has limitations for

tools that allowed the success of the programme included:

the satisfaction of the demands of farmers in terms of diversity and quantity of seeds since they have focused

1. Learning in action according to interests

on obtaining improved varieties with general adaptation

2. Farmer schools

and use of high inputs of agrochemicals (2).

3. Festivals of innovation

The Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) is an

4. Exchange visits

innovative methodology that involves farmers as direct

5. Coexistence

actors in the processes of technological innovation and

6. Training of students in local innovation scenarios

crop improvement. In the PPB farmers maintain a direct

7. Creation of local seed banks

relationship with the professionals who become partners in the processes of production and improvement (3).

PPB has contributed to the design of a system of seed

In Cuba the PPB began in 1999 in the provinces

alternatives and is decentralized, suitable to the country’s

of Pinar del Río and La Habana currently Mayabeque,

new rural conditions. PPB is also able to produce seeds

subsequently spreading to Villa Clara and Holguín where

adapted to local agro-systems. This is done by involving

it ran until 2005. From this date, the programme evolved

small farmers in scientific research for the first time in the

into a Local Agricultural Innovation Programme.

system of science and agricultural technology in Cuba’s

The Cuban experience of PPB focused on four stages:

recent history.

1) diagnosis 2) collection of plant genetic resources 3)

PPB generated considerable environmental impacts

establishment of demonstration plots and development

by significantly increasing the agrobiodiversity in

of biodiversity fairs and 4) farmer experimentation (4).

the areas where it was implemented. It also increased

The implementation of the PPB is a learning process in action for all the actors involved. The process allows

the productivity of smallholder farmers thanks to the diffusion of varieties adapted to local agro-systems.

participants to understand the dimension of the real

The programme encouraged agricultural research

needs of farmers, direct improvement programmes and

in Cuba making it a part of the research community.

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A deeper appreciation for participatory research and its

Ávila, L.N.V.; Nunes, D.G.C. y de Pazdiora, B.R.C.N.

benefits was obtained. Farmers utilised technologies and

‘‘Mejoramiento participativo: herramienta para la

experimented with varieties in search of solutions adapted

conservación de cultivos subutilizados y olvidados’’.

to their livelihoods.

Acta Agronómica, vol. 64, no. 3sup, 2015, pp. 307–

Participatory Plant Breeding is a methodology that

327, [Consultado: 25 de enero de 2017], Disponible

guarantees food security especially for small farmers

en: <

because it guarantees greater capacity to develop


new varieties and technologies adapted to their local conditions that increase production. In addition, the

3. Calle, W.C.A.; Conde, C.I.C. y Baena, M. ‘‘Análisis

local conservation of seeds is a vital tool to guarantee

de los sistemas de semillas en países de América Latina’’.

seed in the quality and quantity necessary for farmers to

Acta Agronómica, vol. 64, no. 3, 2015, pp. 239–245,

achieve higher yields.

[Consultado: 25 de enero de 2017], Disponible en:


< agronomica/article/view/43985>.

1. Gabriel, J.L. y Carrasco, E. ‘‘Experiencias y logros sobre

4. Ríos, H. ‘‘Logros en la implementación del

mejoramiento convencional y selección participativa de

Fitomejoramiento Participativo en Cuba’’. Cultivos

cultivares de papa en Bolivia’’. Revista Latinoamericana

Tropicales, vol. 24, no. 4, 2003, pp. 17–23, [Consultado:

de la Papa, vol. 12, no. 1, 2016, pp. 169–192,

25 de enero de 2017], Disponible en: <http://www.

[Consultado: 25 de enero de 2017], Disponible en:>.

< article/view/116>. 2. Caetano, C.M.; Cuellar, R.D.P.; Juajibioy, J.L.M.;

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Playa Mayabeque

In Cuba, the Local Agricultural Innovation Project

Management Platform.This platform was integrated by

(PIAL), coordinated by the National Institute of

several local institutions: National Association of Small

Agricultural Science (INCA), was implemented in 2003,

Farmers (ANAP), Ministry of Science, Technology and

and provides evidence of valid agricultural innovation

Environment (CITMA), representatives of the Ministry

alternatives. These alternatives can now be implemented

of Public Health, Municipal University Center (CUM),

in the current and future Cuban agricultural and livestock

Local Government, producers of Credit and Service

context (1).

Cooperatives (CCS) and Cooperatives of Agricultural

The Framework for PIAL in the Güines Municipality? In Güines municipality, in the province of Mayabeque, the work on the project began in July 2013, starting with the creation of the Multi-sectoral

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Production (CPA) and National Institute of Agricultural Science (INCA).It is important to emphasize that the peasants as members of the platform have become an indisputable strength for the identification of local demands or solutions (2). During the implementation of the PIAL in the

to be disseminated both nationally and internationally. In addition, papers were presented by producers and researchers at different scientific events. The implementation of PIAL has a positive impact on food security due to the application of the Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) of the project (1, 2). These include: obtaining healthy food, agro-ecological management of farms, use of bio-products that allowed the reduction of chemicals, construction of organoponics

Pedro Rosales

with recyclable materials and diversification of farms

with varieties and plant and animal species. Local food

municipality, different Local Agricultural Innovation

and flower arranging, creation of local seed banks and

Groups (GIAL) were created, based on the common interest of the farmers (2). The main themes in which GIALs work are: flower production and floral arrangements, fruit orchards, mini-industry, application of bio-products, seed production and conservation, food nutrition and quality, pruning and grafting, medicinal plants, milk quality, agro-ecology, biodiversity of grains,

conservation, soil conservation, flower management assembly of mini industries for the processing and conservation of food were also established. Overall, PIAL is very successful in Mayabeque and provides a model of how food security can be obtained within various regions.


pineapple and fruit trees.

1. Ortiz, R.; Angarica, L.; Acosta, R y Guevara, F.

How does the platform work?

Enfoque de Género. Ediciones INCA. 2016. 104p.

The municipal platform meets once a month to identify the main problems and possible solutions that are presented in local food production; jointly proposing activities to increase the quantity and quality of such production. It also provides information on activities carried out and at the suggestion of the members,

“Manual de Monitoreo y Evaluación Participativos con ISBN: 978-959-7023-88-3. 2. Rosales, P.; Martínez, M. “Experiencias del Proyecto de Innovación Agropecuaria Local (PIAL) en el municipio Güines”. Biodiversidad, Sustento y Culturas, no.90, 2016, pp 16-20. ISSN: 07977-888X

proposes the action plan to be followed for the next month. In the municipality, there are various forms of training such as: workshops, diversity fairs, sensitization work with young people, producers and decision makers, field visits, culinary and innovation festivals and exchange between local and non-local producers. Mass media is also included in the platform. This allows the results

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because they lack secure control over land (FAO 2011). While men control the contracts, most farming done on contractual plots are by female labourers. Women Women make up almost half of the world’s farmers (UNDP 2016). Limited resources and lack of finances curtail production. Agriculture provides poverty-reduction benefits, helps preserve existing land, prevents erosion and it supports efforts geared at curbing deforestation and reducing the impacts associated with climate change. The value of agriculture in the world today is critical. According to the UNDP (2016), research shows that women’s agricultural productivity can be increased by 20-30% given the same access to resources as men. Closing the gap between men and women in agriculture can result in releasing 100 to 150 million people from hunger ( Increasing women’s access to farming resources could further result in a raised yield on women’s farms by 20 to 30% (FAO 2011). Oxfam statistics indicate that women produce over 50% of the world’s food (World Bank 2012). Evidence has shown that women farmers have been excluded from modern contract farming arrangements

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have primary responsibilities for child care and other household duties, even though that is slowly changing in today’s world. The Food and Agriculture Report (FAO 2011) on the gender gap in agriculture estimates that women spend 80-90 % of their time on household food preparations. In Indonesia, throughout the palm oil producing regions, women are frequently seen working alongside men in the harvesting of the palm nuts. It must be noted here that this industry is one of the country’s most sustainable financial ventures. However, women are often marginalised and have little access to financial resources, knowledge and technology to help the production of their crops. There exist many cultural norms and beliefs in the Barotse Plains of Zambia. In the past women did not use fish nets in the river as it was believed that they will not be able to conceive and give birth. There was also the superstitious belief that women paddling boats were a bad omen. People in that community state that the roles of men and women were taken from the bible, as

such, it is best to leave the roles as is and there is no need

as other over-represented sectors like the wholesale and

for change. Consequently, a woman may be relegated to

retail trade sector. Men are mostly employed in the

just selling fish which is not financially viable. This has

agricultural and construction sectors. This is different

since changed and women now fish in the deep and are

in North Africa where there is an increase in employment

allowed to paddle boats. The community has become

for women mostly in agriculture, education, health and

more open to change and recognises that education is

social work. In Sub-Saharan Africa, employment was up

important to girls. Becoming more aware of this aspect

for women mainly in the wholesale and retail trade and

is vital to these new developments (

other over-represented sectors. However, employment

A number of studies showed that women on average

in the agricultural sector decreased. There seems to be a

are paid less than men for the same jobs and similar levels

shift from agriculture to the wholesale and retail sector.

of education (FAO 2011). Social norms and roles that

In the Caribbean the availability of jobs to date

confine women to certain jobs compound this situation.

for women are in education, health and social work as

While women continue to face occupational separation

opposed to jobs in the agricultural sector. This is different

and discrimination in rural job markets, new forms of

to North Africa where employment is on the increase

organisation in supply methods for the export of crops

for women in the agricultural sector, whereas in Sub-

and agro-processing turned the tables around. Thus,

Saharan Africa jobs are on the decrease in that particular

wages are higher and working conditions are better than

sector. This can be due to varying circumstances like,

in the traditional agricultural employment (FAO 2011).

types of crops grown, availability of jobs in that sector,

An International Labour Organisation (ILO, 2009)

availability of jobs in another sector, natural hazards and

report states that in Latin America and the Caribbean

disasters, financial availability within governments for

the agricultural sector is relatively small with less than

that sector, different ideology of governments, and which

5% females employed as opposed to approximately 15%

sector offers the best paying jobs available for women.

males. In the distribution of employment sector, they

The Caribbean needs to focus more on development of

report that less females (approximately 5%) as opposed

land and growing of crops to reduce its food import bill

to males (20%) are employed in the agricultural sector

thereby increasing jobs for women in the agricultural

also but much more in the services sector (25%). This

sector. This however, depends on the ideology of the

is most likely because social norms and roles may attract

ruling government and the availability of resources.

women to the services sector as opposed to agriculture. These jobs may also have better remuneration.


In 2017, the gender gap of employment in Latin America and the Caribbean decreased substantially

Empowering women in agriculture: tackling global

since 1997 by 1.1% (ILO 2017). However, at 3.4%

poverty and deforestation

in 2017, it remains large second to the Arab States and

empowering-women-in-agriculture. (2016). [Accessed,

Northern Africa. Employment of women in Latin

April 27th 2017]

America and the Caribbean in 2017 increased overall in the education, health and social work sector as well

Food and Agriculture Organisation. The state of food and

Page 20

agriculture: women in agriculture closing the gender gap for development. (2011) [Accessed, April 27th, 2017] ISSN 0081-4539. Transforming gender norms: contributing to agricultural development. transforming-gender-norms-contributing-to-agriculturaldevelopment/. [Accessed, April 27th, 2017]. ILO Global employment trends for women. Geneva, International Labour Office, (2009). [Accessed, October 16th, 2017]. WCMS_103456/lang--en/index.htm ILO World employment social outlook: Trends for women 2017. Geneva, International Labour Office, (2017). [Accessed, October 16th, 2017]. http://www. World Bank: Women, Business and the Law Report. Removing Barriers to Economic Inclusion. World Bank. [Accessed, November 23rd, 2017]

Page 21


Nakisha Mark How can the Caribbean region become selfreliant? The answer to this question may be through a bio-economy. According to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC 2017), Bio-economy can be defined as all economic activity

Figure 1: Biobased clusters of the Bioeconomy (CFCS 2016)

derived from bio-based products and processes which

a self- reliant Caribbean community. The main focus of

contributes to sustainable and resource-efficient solutions to the challenges we face in food, chemicals, materials, energy production, health and environmental protection. This was further reiterated at the Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS) conference 2016 â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Le Gosier Guadeloupe, whereby Bio-economy was demonstrated as being part of bio-based clusters as shown in Figure 1. The Caribbean region has a rich history of agriculture that needs to be revived in order for it to progress financially, environmentally but most importantly sustainably. Many view agriculture as the provision of food for his/ her family, in other words subsistence agriculture is still the main approach to food security when in fact agriculture can be much more. Agriculture is the foundation for a bio-economy, which can enable

agriculture has been on the edible products. However, there is great potential from the non-edibles such as lignocellulosic biomass, natural product compounds and the development of bio- based industries. Lignocellulosic biomass comprises cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin which are indigestible by humans. It is the fourth largest carbon source, and is also renewable. Recent studies are exploring the conversion of the biomass to chemicals and fuels which will lead to the development of bio based industries such as biorefineries. Because the chemicals and fuels would be derived from a renewable resource there will be resulting positive environmental impacts such as a reduction in the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s carbon footprint. The creation of such a sector based on biomass from agricultural waste can

Page 22

create multi linkages within the agricultural sector and

In recent times there has also been great environmental

decrease the importation bill for fuels (e.g. oil and natural

concerns, and persons are becoming more appreciative

gas) and chemicals. Lignocellulosic biomass can also be

of their environment. They are opting for more natural

used to create materials for the textile and construction

forms of tourism, and this is where bio-tourism of the

industries due to the advantageous physical properties

region can develop and become a significant contributor

of lignocellulose. In many agriculture crops there exist

to a countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economy.

unexplored compounds that have medicinal and non-

With a change in mind-set towards agriculture and

medicinal applications. For example the Solanum (e.g.

the realisation that agriculture expands beyond crop and

tomatoes, sweet peppers and eggplants) and Musa (e.g.

livestock production; the development of a bio-economy

bananas and plantain) genus are continuously being

can become a reality, thereby making the Caribbean

explored for their medicinal and cosmetic applications.

region self -reliant.

Bio based industries goes beyond bio-refineries, pharmaceuticals and cosmetic industries. It also


incorporates the agroindustry and biotechnological industries. This is where the packaging of agricultural

Anon (n.d) What is a bioeconomy? http://www.bbsrc.

by-products occur and the technological advancement

of processes are tailored to maintain agriculture

what-is-the-bioeconomy/. [Accessed October 15, 2016]

competitiveness. For instance many agricultural crops and livestock are used to make unique cuisines, therefore

Delidovich, I., Leonhardb ,K. and Palkovits ,K. ,

the combination of technological advancement in the

Cellulose and hemicellulose valorisation: an integrated

agroindustry can lead to the exportation of products

challenge of catalysis and reaction engineering. Energy

which can have great economic returns. A stable

Environ. Sci. 2014, 7, 2803.

agroindustry would imply that the region will no longer be approaching agriculture as subsistence agriculture.

Page 23

AUTHOR INFORMATION Name: Aprajita Kulshrestha Email: Campus/Organisation: The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Faculty: Science & Technology Department: Biological and Chemical Sciences Position: Student Qualifications: BSc., MPhil.(in-progress) Research Interests: Produce biochar from different recycled organic wastes and incorporate in turf grasses; biochar impact on soil microbiology

Name: Debra D. Joseph PhD. Email: Faculty: Social Sciences Department: GSSW Position: Lecturer Qualifications: PhD. Social Work; MSW (clinical); BSc. Social Work minor in Psychology (First Class Honours) Research Interests: HIV/AIDS; Domestic Violence; Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability; Teaching and Learning.

Name: Judith Priam Email: and Organisation: Academy of French Guiana Position: Temporal Professor in Life and Earth Sciences; and PhD candidate affiliated to Servicios CientĂ­ficos y TĂŠcnicos, San Juan (Puerto Rico). Qualifications: M. Sc. In Environment (Univ. of Grenoble 1), M. Sc. In Policies and International Relations (Univ. of the Antilles and French Guiana) and M. Sc. In Economy of the Environment (University of Versailles-SaintQuentin-en-Yvelines). Research Interests: Insular Sustainability, Environment-Society Nexus, Avifauna, Renewables, Biodiversity dynamics.

Page 24

Name: Michel MartĂ­nez Cruz Email: Campus/Organization: National Institute of Agricultural Science (INCA) Department: Genetic and Plant Improvement Position: Head of department Qualifications: PhD. Research Interests: plant breeding, participatory plant breeding, Local Innovation

Name: Nakisha Mark Email: Campus/Organisation: The University Of The West Indies, St. Augustine Campus Faculty: Science & Technology Department: Chemistry Position: Postgraduate Student Qualifications: BSc.; MSc. Research Interests: Catalytic Biomass Conversion

Name: Nikolai Holder Email: Campus/Organisation: The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Faculty: Science & Technology Department: Biological & Chemical Sciences Position: PhD. Student Qualifications: BSc. Biochemistry & Chemistry, MSc. Renewable Energy Management Research Interests: Biofuels - Biogas production

Page 25

Name: Orquidea Hailyn Abreu Gonzรกlez Email: Campus/Organization: Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH) Department: University Extension Position: Professor Qualifications: MsC. Research Interests: Local Innovation, social equity, local development, gender

Name: Pedro Rafael Rosales Jenqui Email: Department: Physiology and Plant Biochemistry Position: Researcher Qualifications: MsC. Research Interests: Agricultural Extension

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Introducing the Incoming Chrysallis Research Magazine Team

Sanya Compton

Kemi Linton

Michael Mayers


Assistant Coordinator MSc (International Trade Policy)

Graphic Designer

PhD (Natural Resource Management)

Page 27

MPhil (Computer Science)

Rolien Nedd

Shanice Mason

Assistant Editor MEd (Educational Leadership)

Assistant Editor MPhil (Biochemistry)

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Chrysallis Research Magazine - Issue 3 - Mar 2018  

This is a research magazine created by postgraduate students at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus. It highlights rese...

Chrysallis Research Magazine - Issue 3 - Mar 2018  

This is a research magazine created by postgraduate students at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus. It highlights rese...