Press Release

Premier's Office
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Release Date:
Tuesday, 4 October 2022 - 1:32pm

Collaborating with regional and international partners, improving data collection, making data-driven investments, and implementing structured farm programmes are just a few keys to improving the agricultural sector.

This statement is according to Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Premier’s Office, Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt Igwe whose portfolio includes agriculture and fishing. 

The Permanent Secretary and Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Theodore James recently returned from Oxford, United Kingdom where they attended the 21st Review Conference hosted by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) from 27th – 28th September, 2022.

Mrs. Stoutt Igwe said, “We have indeed returned with a greater zeal for the agricultural sector. The conference was a great networking opportunity and helped us to gain a deeper appreciation for the work that CABI has been doing throughout the world.”

PS said she was inspired by the capacity building opportunities through the CABI Academy, access to research and learning in agriculture, the environment and the applied life sciences that are available through the CABI Digital Library, as well as the Crop App Index that provides digital tools that support decision making in crop production and plant health.

Director James said, “The conference strengthened my position on the steps the Virgin Islands needs to make in taking agriculture to the next level. One important lesson from the conference is the importance of building the necessary infrastructure to support the farming community.”

Additionally, there is an opportunity for farmers to further improve in the area of selecting suitable crops, improving planting schedules, developing pest and disease management plans, improving their record-keeping abilities and being creative with value-added ideas.

On Monday, 26th September, delegates attended a networking dinner hosted by Dr. Richard Shaw, Senior Regional Director, Caribbean and Central America. Two packed days followed with keynote addresses and panel discussions on various topics including: 

  • Innovation to respond to climate change risks to plant health;
  • Increasing the reach, application and impact of science in agriculture and the environment;
  • Improving the food security and livelihoods of smallholder communities;
  • Reducing inequality through better opportunities for rural women and youth;
  • How to safeguard biodiversity and support the sustainable use of natural resources.

Other agenda items included a report on the progress of CABI’s Medium-Term Strategy (2020 – 2022) and the approval for the Medium Term Strategy for 2023 – 2025.

Mrs. Stoutt Igwe stated that the conference reinforced the need for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to be staffed with the requisite technical officers to make a greater impact in promoting food security and sustainability. She is looking forward to partnering with Director James to share some of the knowledge and information gained with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ team.

CABI is a non-profit intergovernmental development and information organisation that focuses primarily on agricultural and environmental issues in the developing world and the creation, curation and dissemination of scientific knowledge. With over 100 years’ experience working in agriculture and the environment, through its projects, CABI works in partnership with Member Countries, donors and partners to help farmers grow more and lose less, combat threats to agriculture and the environment and improve access to scientific information.


Photo 1 of 4: Mrs. Stoutt Igwe and Director James during one of the sessions at the conference.
Photo 2 of 4: Mrs. Stoutt Igwe and Director James meeting with Mr. Naitram Ramnanan, Regional Representative and IAS Coordinator other members of the Caribbean delegation (Jamaica, Barbados, Montserrat and Trinidad).
Photo 3 of 4:PS Stoutt Igwe and Director James displaying agricultural products from female farmers in Malaysia.
Photo 4 of 4: PS and Director in discussion with one of the exhibitors.


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