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UVI examines climate change in upcoming conference


CHRISTIANSTED – The 31st West Indies Agricultural Economics Conference will be hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Croix next month.

Representatives from Caribbean agricultural institutions, agricultural economists, and agriculture policymakers will meet from Sunday, August 9 to Friday, August 14, 2015 at a hotel in Estate Shoys.

With the theme “Mitigating Climate Change Effects to Ensure Food Security,” the group will discuss risk mitigation measures for climate change, novel extension methods for addressing climate change challenges, the economics of new varieties of crops, improved animal breeds, protected agriculture, aquaculture, effects of climate change on farm profitability, price volatility, and threats to Caribbean Food and Nutrition Security.

According to Kwame Garcia, Sr., state director of the UVI Cooperative Extension Service, “it is a pleasure to host this anniversary conference on St. Croix.”

“It will provide an opportunity for scientists, farmers, and policymakers to share ideas and put forth solutions for addressing climate change and its impact on the tropical and subtropical agro-economic landscape,” Garcia said.

The week of events includes an island farm tour and V.I. National Park tour. Registration fees are as follows: $300, ($150 for students). Farm/Island tour: $50.00, National Park tour: $60.00. Conference registration and hotel information are available at

The Caribbean Agro-Economic Society (CAES) was formally launched on April 8, 1974 at the Ninth West Indies Agricultural Economics Conference in Jamaica. Among the objectives of the Society are the following:

To facilitate exchange and flow of ideas between universities, regional and government institutions, and the private sector with respect to matters related to the economics of agricultural production and related industries;

To adopt a regional approach to the collection, collation, and analysis of agricultural data;

To establish a closer working relationship between the public and private sectors in agricultural production.

Over the years, conferences have attracted a wide range of participants including policymakers, economists, researchers, agricultural economists, teachers, extension educators, farmers, and other social scientists. Delegates have come from Africa, the United States, Latin America, Europe and most importantly, the Caribbean, English and non-English speaking.

These conferences have helped influence agricultural policy throughout the region and have attracted the support of international and Caribbean institutions such as: The Ford Foundation, the British Overseas Development Agency, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute, the Caricom Secretariat, the International Development Research Centre, ministries of governments, and other public sector agencies and private sector organizations throughout the region.

The 31st West Indies Agricultural Economics Conference is hosted by the Caribbean Agro-Economic Society (CAES), University of the West Indies Department of Agricultural Economics, the UVI Cooperative Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Station, the V.I. Department of Agriculture, the V.I. Department of Tourism, and the Caribbean Food Crops Society – V.I. Chapter.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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