UG seeking to establish food and nutrition institute

6th November, 2017 0 comments

As Guyana continues to place emphasis on food and nutrition security, the Agriculture Ministry and the University of Guyana is seeking to establish a food and nutrition security institute.
At the consultation exercise, which was recently held at the Marriott Hotel, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder stated that much emphasis is being placed on strengthening food and nutrition security in the Caribbean and Government continues to plug an immense number of resources into strategies aimed at strengthening such areas.

“With an investment of over US$60 million in agriculture over the past decade, Guyana has been addressing all areas of food security from the reorganisation of the support systems, legislative upgrades, stimulation of production, implementation of new standards such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), to the introduction of Good Manufacturing Practices and HACCP in the Agro-processing industry,” Minister Holder said. With international statistics depicting the high prevalence of malnutrition, Minister Holder also echoed the call for new strategies and ideas to be developed, adding that revisiting old ideas and the development of new technologies to increase productivity is essential to combat this phenomenon. “New systems to combat post-harvest losses, new ways of thinking to develop Food Safety Systems to not only to protect consumers’ health but to reduce spoilage and increase the shelf life and storage of foodstuff must also be developed.”

Holder noted The meeting focused on highlighting pressing food and nutrition insecurity challenges, which include poverty, uneven economic growth, unhealthy diets leading to increasing prevalence of nutrition-related chronic diseases and stability issues possibly related to climate change. Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith said agriculture should not be forgotten since areas like oil and gas are mainly being focused on.

“As the nation pursues energy and gas, we must not neglect agriculture. The pull to oil and gas usually results in push away from agriculture. I hope we do not fall victim to this push and pull factor. As a university, we must ask ourselves – are we doing what we need to do to address the clear and present dangers of food and nutrition insecurity? Universities have the responsibility and are obligated to deal with these issues,” Griffith stated.

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Food and Nutrition Security Institute, other ventures in UG renaissance drive

2nd August, 2017 0 comments

A Food and Nutrition Security Institute is on the cards for the University of Guyana [UG]. This is according to the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith. Griffith made this announcement at a formal installation ceremony held in the George Walcott Lecture Theatre last Friday. According to Professor Griffith, feasibility work for the establishment of an Institute of Food and Nutrition Security will begin in the New Year.

Support for this venture has already been streamlined. “A distinguished Guyanese-born chemist will be spending her sabbatical year with us, and has agreed to lead this effort. I have secured the collaboration commitment of the Director of UWI’s Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship at Cave Hill,” Professor Griffith disclosed. The Vice Chancellor spoke of moves towards re-energizing biodiversity teaching and research at the University. He noted that the collaboration with the Ministry of the Presidency and Iwokrama must be taken to a higher level.

Professor Griffith saw these and other measures as important in the renaissance movement currently unfolding at the state university. Among the areas that the Vice Chancellor has also been giving keen attention to is that of the Law Department. In underscoring the need to address multiple challenges facing the Law Department, Professor Griffith outlined what he called two initial initiatives. The first initiative, according to him, will entail the commissioning of a comprehensive review of the department.

“I truly appreciate the agreement by Professor Velma Newton, a former UWI Law Dean and current Director of the IMPACT Justice Project and head of the Caribbean Law Institute Centre (CLIC), to head the review team. “I have nominations from the Law Department, but I shall defer announcement of others in the review panel until the full team has been empanelled,” announced Professor Griffith. The second initiative will see the university working towards the establishment of a Jurist-in-Residence Programme, and, according to Professor Griffith, “I am pleased that former Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary Carl Singh is likely to be the first Jurist-in-Residence.”

Professor Griffith who commenced his appointment as the UG Vice Chancellor in June last year has outlined a number of ambitious measures that he envisions will restore the image of the national university which, according to him, has been neglected for far too long.

But according to the Vice Chancellor, while his reorganization plan of October 2016 catered for the establishment of a deanship for Research and Graduate Studies, a Centre for Teaching and Learning Excellence, and an Office of Legal Counsel, budgetary and other constraints precluded actualizing these. As such he noted that these will need to become priorities in the second year of the Renaissance.

Part of his renaissance drive has seen the introduction of a series of actions including some that gave focus to the arts. These, according to him, have included, “using Renaissance House, my residence, as a gallery to showcase the painting and sculpture of our students and lecturers, hosting the inaugural Painting, Music and Poetry session at Renaissance House, and appointing the first Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, on a visiting basis, since Martin Carter held the position permanently decades ago.

“Music icon Keith Waithe, who is here with us, is doing his second stint in this position. This coming year we shall formalize the Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Programme.” Even as he zeroed in on the arts, the Vice Chancellor announced Friday that music legend Dave Martins will be joining UG as a Distinguished Visiting Artist-in-Residence. “I have indicated to Dave and to Deputy Vice Chancellor Paloma Mohamed, who will be managing the AIR programme, that it is important that we extend the geographical reach beyond Georgetown and Berbice, to Lethem, parts of Essequibo, Linden, and other areas. Dave already has some fascinating topics for some of his edu-performance sessions.”

The University under the guidance of Professor Griffith has started working with the Indian High Commissioner to support what he called an important component of the programme.

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