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Biocontrol lab opened in Jamaica

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The Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine (Jamaica) now boasts a new biological control laboratory, which will strengthen the island’s pest control measures while helping to protect the environment.

According to Michelle Sherwood, acting principal research director for the research and development division in Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the lab will focus on the use of biological control agents to kill pests that can harm plants.

“We are familiar with the farmer’s friend like the wasp, the ladybird beetle and other insects. With this lab, we’re now able to harness from our natural environment, those biocontrol agents, which we now can collect for research,” said Sherwood. “We now have an environment to be able to multiply and release them as an additional tool to the farmers.”

Meanwhile, a greenhouse was also built at Bodles to produce citrus fruit seedlings under the Clean Seed Development Programme. The programme operates under the 2019 National Seed Policy, which aims to increase the island’s ability to produce all the planting material needed for the entire agriculture sector.

The vision of the policy is to establish a sustainable seed system that ensures a consistent and reliable supply of clean, affordable, and accessible seeds, in support of agricultural production, productivity, food security and biodiversity.

“With this new facility we are now able to produce clean seeds for the citrus industry, which has been negatively impacted by citrus greening disease,” Sherwood noted. “This helps us to supply our nurseries through the citrus unit out of the plant quarantine facility. We have a project with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) where we are producing limes and lemons.”

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