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About the Department of Food Production

The Department of Food Production is one of three departments within the Faculty of Food and Agriculture (FFA). The FFA was formed on August 01, 2012 by the de-merger of the former Faculty of Science and Agriculture which itself was formed in 1996 through the merging of the Faculties of Agriculture and Natural Sciences. Simultaneously with the latter merger, was the unification of three distinct departments (Crop Science, Livestock Science and Soil Science) of the former Faculty of Agriculture into a single department, aptly named the Department of Food Production (DFP). The DFP has a rich and illustrious pedigree since it is rooted in the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA, 1922) which was transformed to the Faculty of Agriculture as part of The University of the West Indies (UWI) in 1960.

The University of the West Indies is a regional institution with four main campuses: Mona, Jamaica; Cave Hill, Barbados; St. Augustine, Trinidad and the Open Campus.  Agriculture as a University discipline is located only on the St. Augustine Campus. At St. Augustine, the Department of Food Production, together with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension and the Department of Geography (which until 2012 was a unit within the DFP) comprise the present Faculty of Food and Agriculture.

The UWI considers teaching, research and outreach as its mandate, and the departmental activities are conducted to fulfill these requirements in Tropical Agriculture. The current list of expertise in the DFP includes specialists in the disciplines of Crop, Soil, Livestock and Food Sciences, Postharvest Technology, Agricultural Engineering, Biostatistics, Microbiology, and Agronomy.

Mission of the Department of Food Production

The mission of the Department of Food Production is to contribute to the sustained improvement of the region’s well-being through outreach, provision of relevant education and research in tropical food and agricultural production and utilisation, sustainable environment, and natural resource management.

The DFP mission aligns with that of The UWI since it seeks to advance education and create knowledge through excellence in teaching, research, innovation, and outreach in food production and agriculture, thus supporting food and nutrition security nationally, regionally and internationally.

Vision of the Department of Food Production

The vision of the Department of Food Production is that by 2025, the Department will be at the forefront of teaching and research of Tropical Agriculture in the integrated disciplines of soil, crop, livestock and food science to ensure food and nutrition security in the Caribbean.

In keeping with The UWI vision statement, the Department must continue to maintain its high standards to ensure that it remains competitive at the national, regional and international levels. The focal point of this vision statement is the research and training in tropical agriculture which has become even more relevant to the region in recent times. Within the last four decades Trinidad and Tobago has relied heavily on the petro-chemical industry but with falling and low petro-chemical prices, tropical agriculture can be an important resuscitator and economic driver for the country and region. Global environmental issues such as land degradation and land use change are already exerting strong impacts in tropical regions where governments and the public are less prepared to deal with them. The UWI is in a unique position to address these issues through teaching, research and outreach by the Department.

The initiation of high quality research programmes is seen as an important driver in providing relevant, cutting-edge education where ideas from research trickle down into undergraduate curricula. Strong research programmes will motivate and inspire students, and will allow them to understand the relevance of their education in a global context where they can see themselves as part of the global community. Many issues are now global, such as markets, climate and land use change, and students need to understand the consequences and impacts of international policy.

Departmental Aims

The DFP intends to provide in the education programme for its students the following:

  • A curriculum which allows for the learning of relevant skills and competencies as one progresses from basic to advanced level courses
  • Development of analytical and technical capacity for decision-making and conducting a range of agricultural operations
  • Increased knowledge, competencies and skills so as to contribute to higher and sustainable agricultural production in the region through greater use of local inputs and by-products
  • Teaching and learning methods that would allow students to be more innovative, independent and critical thinkers in order to enable them to work effectively both individually and as a team member
  • Training so as to become entrepreneurs, agricultural scientists or technologists in the efficient production and utilization of a diversified range of tropical crop and livestock products in the Caribbean region
  • The ability to contribute to regional food and nutrition security through relevant training, research, technical innovation and support
  • Promotion and fostering of continued interest in agriculture as a vital and rewarding profession for the production of food in an efficient, environmentally sound and sustainable manner
  • The ability to contribute to the global knowledge pool of Tropical Agriculture and related disciplines through research and publication
  • Development of the key attributes of the distinctive UWI graduate

Departmental Objectives

The Department seeks to achieve a number of Student Learning Objectives and Outcomes in the teaching of Tropical Agriculture to students. Upon completion of a programme or prescribed course of study, students should:

  • have developed a comprehensive appreciation of the nature of tropical agricultural production
  • have developed the analytical and technical competency needed to deal with complex unstructured challenges facing the agricultural and food sector nationally, regionally, and globally
  • be able to make decisions and meaningful contributions as an individual or as a team member on matters involving agricultural development and policy formulation for sustainable development and regional food security
  • have acquired a set of transferable skills to communicate effectively with food producers to bridge the gap between technological innovation and development and its actual utilization
  • have developed an in-depth knowledge to make positive and meaningful contributions to the agricultural development process
  • have appreciated the potential for agriculture as a vital profession in the Caribbean region in the context of a globalized economy
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