Thanks to the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI) through its Revenue Generating Unit established in 2013, farmers in the Region would be cultivating over 1,800 acres of corn for the 2014 crop.
During the latter part of last year, 29,000 pounds of corn seed were produced and sold to farmers, CARDI said in a recent press release.
“This represented a 50 percent increase in corn seeds produced and supplied by CARDI for the Region’s farmers,” the institute said.
According to CARDI, the new markets supplied with corn seed included Grenada that utilised 7,500 pounds of yellow field corn variety, to establish just over 400 acres to be supplied to the boiling and roasting markets.
“An additional 1,000 pounds were also supplied to the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute of Guyana for evaluation and 10,000 pounds to Belize. A further 10,000 pounds of CARDI’s white corn seed varieties were also supplied to the Ministry of Agriculture in Belize for distribution to farmers for production of corn flour for the 2014 crop,” the release said.
Annually, CARDI has been producing corn and soybean grain, for livestock and the Mennonite poultry feed mills in Belize at competitive prices at its farm located in Central Farms, using a fully mechanized planting, harvesting and drying operation.
The 2014 corn crop is on the way and is expected to produce 137,000 pounds of corn grain from 34 acres to supply to the feed mills. The soya bean crop will be established in November 2014 and is expected to yield 141,100 pounds of soybean grain from 79 Ha.
With a focus on increasing crop and small ruminant productivity by equipping the Region’s agribusiness sector to deal with the challenges of climate change, increasing incidence of invasive pests, low productivity and increasing costs of inputs, CARDI established the Revenue Generating Unit in 2013.
The Unit supplements the Institute’s operating cost, and is focused on generating revenue from research activities with commercial potential and align CARDI’s technical assets for greater revenue generation and cost reduction. The Unit has since established 11 Revenue Centres in its first phase. Four of these are based in Belize and have been generating revenue from mercantile corn and soybean grain production and corn and soybean seed production for sale.
The Revenue Generating Unit expects to assist CARDI in achieving its mandate, primarily by increasing the availability and usage of CARICOM’s Member States’ indigenous planting material to the wider Caribbean farming community; and providing sustainable technology, technical support and monitoring systems developed by CARDI to the Region’s agribusiness sector.
Under the judicious stewardship of Dr. Arlington Chesney, Executive Director, the Resource Mobilization, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit was instituted in 2008 to attract and retain financial resources for research for development from international and regional sources.
This became necessary since the contributions from member states have not increased relative to inflation over the years. The establishment of the Revenue Generating Unit further supports this goal.
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