Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF), Kazim Hosein says the research and innovations currently undertaken by the Cocoa Research Centre, along with its partner institutions, on improving cocoa quality and food safety while also mitigating issues caused by pests and diseases is vitally important – as it will assist the Government’s efforts in the diversification of the economy and by extension create sustainable industries.
In delivering the feature address last Wednesday at the Cocoa Research Centre Annual Research and Development Symposium, St. Augustine Campus, University of the West Indies (UWI) he added, that this study in collaboration with MALF was successful in providing key information for breeding varieties of cocoa with low cadmium levels.
The Minister said similarly, “research was carried out into diseases such as Witches’ broom which causes yield loss and tree death and poses a threat to cocoa industries in the region. Due to this research, we are moving towards developing cocoa trees that are resistant to this disease. Therefore, in the near future, the cocoa industry will not be as affected by this threat therefore presenting less challenges to cocoa farmers worldwide.”
Minister Hosein anticipates that with continued dialogue between the Cocoa Research Centre and the MALF to develop the expertise of our local producers, this country will become a major contender in the international market for fine and flavour cocoa.
He said with the proper planning and the right systems, Trinidad and Tobago will be able to see a resurgence of the cocoa industry.
He then further emphasized on the importance of youth involvement in the sector, stating that there is an opportunity for them to have viable careers in the industry but we must give them all the necessary support that is required.
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