News Releases

UWI proposes a solution for developing Food Security

For Release Upon Receipt - April 2, 2008

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI) is helping local farmers to develop a sustainable approach to the region’s food security issue. The UWI Department of Food Production recently held a workshop with local greenhouse vegetable farmers to investigate the possibility of producing vegetables under greenhouse conditions as a major resource in food security.

The creation of a sustainable food source within the Caribbean will decrease the need for yearly vegetable imports, which in 2005 exceeded US$75 million. Greenhouse production is potentially a key component of sustainable food production, because it can provide year-round supplies of high-quality yields of selected vegetable crops.

However, as the report on the workshop revealed, one of the major setbacks of vegetable production within the greenhouse is the design of the greenhouses, which appeared to be unsuitable for the local environment. The effects of the Caribbean weather (wind, water and heat) on the vegetable crops within the greenhouses were the major hindrances to the design. The heat within the greenhouses was found to exceed 38 degrees Celsius. The report proposed, therefore, that the greenhouse structure should be developed with an appropriate local design with the use of extractor fans to control the heat, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the greenhouse structure in the local environment.

The University intends to collaborate with institutions such as the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO) and the National Agrochemicals Limited (NACL) to conduct relevant research and training in order to establish greenhouses, with the long-term aim of drawing wider support for the greenhouse industry.

For further information please contact Professor Richard A. I. Braitwaite at or 662-2002 Ext. 3320.