UWI 60th Anniversary International Congress on Tropical Agriculture

Event Date(s): 30/11/2008 - 05/12/2008

Location: Hyatt Regency Port of Spain

The Faculty of Science and Agriculture will host an International Congress on Tropical Agriculture and focus on 'Overcoming challenges to developing sustainable agri-food systems in the tropics'.

The subthemes are:

Innovation in Production and Post-production Technologies To investigate technological responses to the challenges facing Tropical Agriculture, addressing specifically the production and post-production issues

Innovation in Marketing and Globalisation issues

  • To investigate a socio-economic response to globalisation challenges facingTropical Agriculture
  • To explore the innovations in Global Marketing Systems and opportunities for Tropical countries to expand markets

Innovation in Research Education and Extension

  • To investigate innovations in Education and Extension, globally and lessons that can be applied for Tropical Agriculture

Overarching Objectives

  • To explore appropriate responses to mitigate climate change events and investigate opportunities for disaster mitigation
  • To chart a way forward for achieving food security in the Caribbean in the face of a myriad of challenges that face regional agriculture
  • Develop a system to organise the tropical countries so that Tropical Agriculture can have a voice in Global Agriculture


Conference dates: November 30th -December 3rd

Dinner and Cultural Evening: December 3rd

Workshop dates: December 4th -5th

Official Website: http://sta.uwi.edu/conferences/tacongress

To register for the conference please click on the following link:




Call for papers

The UWI invites papers on any topic under the general theme of the Conference within the following above themes. Those interested in presenting papers at the Conference should forward an Abstract, for review by the Programme Committee, no later than September 30th 2008. Abstracts should not exceed 200 words.

Authors of papers accepted for presentation should submit the following:

An electronic copy (name of author, title of paper, software used) of their full paper, no later than October 31st.

A brief biography of the author (and of the person presenting the paper, if different from the author)

Editorial Guidelines for papers are as follow:

The paper should not exceed 15-20 pages double space. Font: Times New Roman, 11 point. Software: Microsoft Word.

All references cited in the text must be included in the bibliography. Please use the "author date" system when citing references in the text.

Acronyms and abbreviations must be defined at first mention in the text

Figures and tables must be sent on a separate file

Papers must be written in English.

Papers will be peer-reviewed for publication in the Conference Proceedings.


Papers received in any other format will not be accepted.

Both abstracts and papers should be sent to the following email address:






Background & Rationale

The recent food price inflation and the inability of the Caribbean region to respond to such price shocks have created considerable economic instability and hardship to the peoples of the region. This has prompted countries within the region to prioritize their efforts on food security and poverty alleviation, and to restructure the agriculture sector to overcome the challenges.

In addition to insulating the region from global food shortages, the restructuring exercise should focus on overcoming agricultural challenges posed by globalization, as well as mitigating the effects of the frequent hurricanes that ravage the Caribbean landscape, and predicted climate change scenarios. There are also questions of sustainability of the present agricultural systems and tensions between ‘green agriculture’ and ‘modern’ technologies. The restructuring process should include a review of the agricultural and land use policy, research and development agenda as well as the appropriateness of the education, training and extension system taking into account global trends. In addition, issues such as policy implementation, praedial larceny, physical infrastructure development and regional cooperation efforts within the CSME should be given consideration. It is becoming increasingly evident that agriculture in the region should be strategic, knowledge-driven and technology based, so that it can remain competitive and profitable.

The interventions

As part of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations, the University of the West Indies (UWI) is embarking on a series of activities to aid in the restructuring and revitalization of the agriculture industry in the region, with the aim of achieving food security, poverty alleviation and wealth creation.

Highlights of the planned activities include an AGRITECH EXPO featuring the latest technologies driving agriculture, globally, presented in a modern farm setting at the University Field Station (April, 2008); a launch of an interactive AGRIFOOD WEBSITE to bring greater awareness to modern technologies and share best-practices around the region and a Congress on “Sustainable Agri-food Systems in the Tropics” to bring a global perspective on the common way forward for tropical countries in general and the Caribbean in particular given the challenges mentioned above.

Congress on Sustainable Agri-food Systems in the Tropics

Globally, agriculture is facing numerous challenges due to limited and or deteriorating arable lands, leveling of crop productivity, growing demand for food in India and China, and the escalating demand for biofuels. However, the response of tropical countries, which to a large extent are developing, has been generally poor, due to lack of innovation, poor organization and the lack of resources available to quickly respond to global agricultural changes. The challenges in small island developing states are even greater due to high pressures on arable land for urban development and tourism as well as other sustainability concerns.

The University of the West Indies and its predecessor the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture has been in the forefront of tropical agriculture research and education for many decades. Furthermore, the University of the West Indies publishes the international journal “Tropical Agriculture” and has done so uninterruptedly for 82 years. It is hence appropriate that an International Congress of this nature be staged at the UWI during its 60th Anniversary Celebrations. The international meeting would be followed by a Caribbean Workshop to address regional issues pertaining to food security and poverty alleviation, towards drafting a white paper on the way forward.

The Goal:

The overall goal of the congress is to develop an appropriate international and regional response to the challenges facing Tropical Agri-food Systems.

The specific objectives of the CONGRESS are

To investigate a socio-economic response to globalization challenges facing tropical agriculture.

To explore innovations in global marketing systems and opportunities for tropical countries to expand markets.

To investigate the technological response to the challenges facing tropical agriculture – addressing specifically the production and post-production issues.

To explore an appropriate response to mitigate climate change events and investigate opportunities for disaster mitigation.

To investigate innovations in education and extension globally and lessons that can be applied for tropical agriculture.

To chart a way forward for achieving food security in the Caribbean in the face of the myriad challenges that face regional agriculture

To Develop a system to organize the tropical countries so that tropical agriculture can have a voice in global agriculture.

Organization and themes:

The Congress will be held from 30th November 2008 to 6th December, 2008 at a hotel to be confirmed. It will consist of an International Conference and a Workshop focusing on Caribbean issues.

The first three days of conference will be devoted to addressing international perspectives facing tropical agriculture.

The issues identified in the objectives will be addressed in three thematic areas over the first three days.

  • Global socio-economic issues and foresighting
  • Innovations in production and post-production technologies
  • Innovations in agricultural education and extension

Each of the thematic areas will include one or two keynote speakers of international repute. A call for papers will be posted to invite other contributions from throughout the tropical world. Depending on the number of papers received the sessions may need to be arranged to run in parallel.

With the objective of soliciting papers from throughout the world, five coordinators will be appointed

  • Tropical Australia and the Pacific Islands,
  • Southeast Asia
  • South Asia
  • Tropical Africa
  • Tropical Latin America

An international tropical agriculture society will be proposed during the meeting with an International Board of Directors to chart the way forward for tropical agriculture in an international context. A number of key scientists who have contributed to tropical agriculture will be recognized.

The last two days of the congress will be allocated to a Workshop addressing issues relating to food security and poverty alleviation in the Caribbean.

A preparatory Planning Meeting in March 27th and 28th 2008 will be convened involving the important stakeholders from the Caribbean, to formulate the agenda for the last two days. It is expected that the persons will address the important challenges in the agri-food systems in the Caribbean.

Expected outcome

Proceedings of the conference and workshop on overcoming challenges facing tropical agri-food systems will be published. A Tropical Agricultural Society will be established with a Board of Directors and a constitution to allow a coordinated response to global challenges. Within this umbrella organization, other sub-regional organizations will be fostered.

The regional workshop during the last two days will result in a consensus position on the way forward for the Caribbean, which will be submitted to the CARICOM/COTED for discussion.


The financing of the congress will be based on funding from donor organizations, development agencies as well as revenue earned from the registration fee. The registration fee is set at US$250 per participant. Student Registration is US $60. The congress will seek to provide funding for persons who cannot find necessary funding to attend the conference.


Open to: | General Public | Staff | Student | Alumni |