News Releases

Food safety workshop for cocoa farmers

For Release Upon Receipt - October 5, 2012

St. Augustine

The Cocoa Research Unit (CRU), at UWI’s Faculty of Food and Agriculture, hosted a workshop for stakeholders in the cocoa industry from September 10th to 12th, 2012. This workshop on “Quality control and food-safety of Caribbean cocoa” was the second component in the “Caribbean Fine Flavour Cocoa Industry Commercialisation; Caribbean region; CAR-RFO” project, one of the Unit’s current undertakings.

The workshop began with an opening ceremony held on September 10th, at the Institute of Critical Thinking, The University of the West Indies’ (UWI) St Augustine Campus. Here, participants gathered to learn about the project, what it has accomplished thus far, the need for food safety initiatives in the Caribbean cocoa industry and what the workshop will entail. The “Caribbean Fine Flavour Cocoa Industry Commercialisation; Caribbean region; CAR-RFO” project is a collaboration between the CRU and the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE), an African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)/European Union (EU) joint institution which was created under the Cotonou Agreement to support the development of the private sector in ACP countries. This project aims to address the challenges faced by fine or flavour cocoa producers in the Caribbean, including declining production, food safety and other quality deficiencies.  In addition this project seeks to promote the development of value-added products and agro-tourism associated with cocoa production.

During the three-day workshop, participants were trained in food safety using the Generic Manual on Food Safety. This manual provides post harvest and manufacturing guidance to facilities, based on recommended practices for complying with the international food safety standards – Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). This training taught participants how to use the manual to begin implementing these practices.

For more information, please contact Professor Pathmanathan Umaharan, Director, Cocoa Research Unit, at 662-8788.

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Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)