Fri | Apr 12, 2024

UWI Mona to undertake research project to restore soil health locally

To collaborate with European organic fertiliser brand

Published:Monday | March 4, 2024 | 12:06 AM
From left: Professor Michael Taylor, dean, Faculty of Science and Technology, The UWI Mona; Machel Emanuel, lecturer, Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, The UWI Mona; Prof Densil Williams, principal and pro vice-chancellor, The
From left: Professor Michael Taylor, dean, Faculty of Science and Technology, The UWI Mona; Machel Emanuel, lecturer, Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, The UWI Mona; Prof Densil Williams, principal and pro vice-chancellor, The UWI, Mona; Luis Pinheiro, CEO, Biobizz World Wide Organics; and Julian Marley, Biobizz World Wide Organics brand ambassador and collaborator pose for a photo at the signing of an MoU to build technical capacity for rural transformation

The University of the WI, Mona campus, through the Department of Life Sciences in the Faculty of Science and Technology, and European fertiliser brand, Biobizz World Wide Organics (Biobizz WWO), have embarked upon a research project to restore soil fertility and promote sustainable agriculture in Nine Mile, St. Ann.

Professor Densil Williams, pro vice-chancellor and principal of The UWI Mona and Luis Pinheiro, CEO, Biobizz WWO, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on February 20 at the Mona campus to formalise the project. The agreement comes after months of rigorous and careful research, and aims to address the issue of soil depletion in Nine Mile through the implementation of sustainable farming practices such as crop rotation and organic nutrients. The agreement also seeks to build technical capacity for rural transformation, while encouraging greater awareness and appreciation for more sustainable farming solutions, among other things. Williams also praised the partnership, noting that the move was in keeping with The UWI’s strategic move to align itself with industries and deepen relationships.

Biobizz WWO brings to the table more than 30 years of experience, producing 100 per cent organic products to aid in the process of soil regeneration. Their expertise in organic farming is evidenced by their heavy involvement in research and development initiatives on a global scale.

Underscoring his company’s commitment to spreading sustainable solutions to Jamaica, Mr. Pinheiro said, “We want to ensure that people learn from this (project).” Pinheiro spoke briefly at the signing ceremony, before giving the floor to his company’s brand ambassador and collaborator, Julian Marley.

Nine Mile, a farming community with a large Rastafarian population, is the place where reggae legend Bob Marley was born and laid to rest 36 years later. It was not by accident that Nine Mile was targeted under this project. Many of the residents rely on subsistence farming for a living, and the Biobizz WWO brand Ambassador is part of the team working to ensure that farmers from his father’s community are empowered to produce crops in a more sustainable way.

Indeed, in his opening remarks, Machel Emanuel, lecturer, Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, noted that the collaboration between The UWI and Biobizz WWO embodied a spirit of progress, knowledge-sharing, and collective betterment. “Today marks a significant milestone as we forge a partnership that will undoubtedly pave the way for ground-breaking collaborations in the field of organic agriculture and sustainability,” Dr. Emanuel said.

“Through this partnership we are opening doors for new opportunities for research, innovation, and for the development of sustainable solutions that will benefit Jamaica and, by extension, (the rest of the) Caribbean region, and the globe, “ he added.

The partnership between The UWI and Biobizz WWO also aligns seamlessly with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining’s push for organic practices to facilitate soil recovery and environmental conservation.