Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Six members of the South Carolina State University family embarked in October 15 on a seven-day journey to South America where they initiated collaborations with the country of Guyana.
The goal was to develop memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between SC State’s College of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences (CAFCS) and Guyana’s critical governmental and educational institutions. The MOUs will allow:
“It was an honor to guide and accompany my colleagues to Guyana, the country of my birth and formal education,” said Dr. Moreen Joseph, SC State assistant professor of nutrition, who was instrumental in arranging the meetings. “Guyana is referred to as the breadbasket of the Caribbean due to its vast agricultural sector.
“The goal of this experience was to form partnerships that will benefit academic institutions in Guyana and the newly established College of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences at SC State and ultimately benefit the global community,” she said.
In addition to Joseph, the SC State delegation consisted of Dr. William Whitaker, CAFCS acting dean; Dr. Maria James, acting chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences; Dr. Haile Selassie, professor of agribusiness and economics; Odeidra Williams, director of public relations for the college; and Dr. Learie B. Luke Office of International and National Student Exchange Programs director.
According to Whitaker, the visit was the first step in a long and fruitful relationship between SC State, the CAFCS and key Guyanese partners.
“We all acknowledge the critical nature of agricultural policies and production. Collaborations and cultural exchange are the types of actions that the College of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences pledges to take,” Whitaker said. “We want to be the good stewards of the founding and current tenets of SC State, and we plan to establish a strong global presence in the immediate future to continue to elevate the university.”
Travel was strategically planned during Guyana’s Agriculture Month 2022. The first day of the visit coincided with International World Food Day, a celebrated United Nations (UN) day where 150 countries participate in collective actions designed to promote worldwide awareness on global food safety and security.
The team joined hundreds of people from Guyana’s 10 regions to celebrate Guyana’s growing presence in global agriculture. Attendees were addressed by dignitaries including Guyana Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha; Shaun Baugh, program manager for agricultural and agro-industrial development at Caribbean Community (CARICOM); and representatives from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.
The days that followed consisted of meetings and conversations related to the pending agreements with relevant personnel including the Dr. Paloma Mohamed Martin, vice chancellor of the University of Guyana; Dr. Lawrence Lewis, dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry; Brian Greenidge, chief executive officer of the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA); Hansen Elliot, principal of Kuru Kuru Cooperative College; and representatives from the National Agricultural Research & Extension Institute and the Guyana Livestock Development Authority.
The SC State delegation was asked to assist Guyana with strategies that support the vision and goal of reducing CARICOM’s food import bill by 25% percent by 2025.
The team toured numerous farms and facilities. The institutions visited include the advanced research and practical farm at the University of Guyana which is a 50-acre farm run by the GSA, which provides opportunities for youth and community entrepreneurship. That also visited a commercial kitchen at GSA, where numerous shelf-ready products are made including a marinade sauce, barbeque sauce, and various types of gluten free flours made from local plants such a plantains and breadfruit. (KPVI News)