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Dwayne Mitchell of the Research and Extension Program for the St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) and the Eastern Caribbean Bee Research and Extension Center(ECBREC) for Grenada and the Caribbean requested the assistance of FAVACA to train with the University of Florida Bee College and Department of Entomology and Nemotology.  Mitchell's goals included implementing an extension officer program in Grenada and increasing the research capability of the university.  Dwayne Mitchell traveled to Gainesville, Florida from March 3 - April 1, 2012 to work with Dr. Jamie Ellis, Associate Professor, of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Entomology and Nematology. UF has a thriving research and extension program which is second-to-none and is strategically located close to the Caribbean and the Americas.   

Mitchell attended for the 2012 Bee College an event that brings together 350 internationally renowned scientists, technicians, manufacturers, service providers, developmental agents, farmers, and beekeepers. Mitchell worked with the UF laboratory team where he prepared teaching materials and handouts, pest and disease identification kits, bee sampling for practical application, and examination materials.  Mitchell was able to work with staff from the Bee Unit on the varroa mite project colonies preparing them for apiary relocation and transferring bee hives. Mitchell also participated in field activities with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services including bee hive research projects, removal of research materials, and transfer of nucs into full brood chambers.  He also learned the molecular technique in identifying the European Honey Bee and the African Honey Bee in the laboratory and began to develop the Caribbean Bee Survey with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the framework of the Caribbean program. Lastly, Mitchell met with the Acting Chief Apiary Inspector and Director of the Cooperative Agriculture Pests Survey (CAPS) Florida Program to collaborate on agricultural research and extension opportunities for the Caribbean incentive and also met with Dr. Elizabeth Bailey of Bayer Animal Health regarding future collaboration between St. George University, UF Faculty and Bayer Animal Health.


For the past several years, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) has been providing a series of trainings to increase capacity in identification of pests of economic and quarantine importance. Outbreaks of pests in the Caribbean region threatens and in some cases hinders the food security of the Caribbean Region especially since these invasive alien species are not able to be identified and therefore treated by farmers or pests experts in each country. Such pests as the tomato borer (Keiferia Lycopersicella), the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) and the pink bollworm Pectinophora gossypiella) are starting to invade some of the islands in the Caribbean and farmers are seeing a decrease in production due to the damage these pests are creating on their crops. To help increase the capacity to identify invasive pests and to provide proper treatment to fields with such pests, IICA requested the assistance of FAVACA to provide training on the identification of Lepidoptera pests. Dr. Delano Lewis, Assistant Curator at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, Florida traveled to St. George's, Grenada September 18-24, 2011 to provide a workshop on Lepidoptera identification. To help provide additional support and expertise, Thomson Paris, Assistant Curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History and current Doctoral Student in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida, traveled to St. George's, Grenada September 15-26, 2011. The volunteers provided training on morphology of Lepidoptera, the classification and infraorders of the species, as well as techniques on collecting the pests.


The sixth annual Caribbean Beekeeping Congress took place in Grenada May 23-27, 2011 bringing together beekeepers from the Caribbean and Latin America to discuss the progress of beekeeping across the region. A variety of technical papers were presented during the conference by leading experts in the field of beekeeping. Topics included: the Secure and Sustainable Biology of Honeybees; International Beekeeping Development Issues; Strengthening, Securing and Sustaining Caribbean Beekeeping; Honeybee Nutrition; How the Caribbean Adapted to the African Honeybee and Disease; and Beekeeping in Haiti. Three FAVACA volunteers were in attendance at the conference and provided several of the technical lectures. Doug Corbin, Pensacola, and David Westervelt,Tavares, both from the Florida Department of Agriculture's Division of Plant Industry's Apiary Inspection Section along with Bo Sterk, St. Augustine, traveled to the conference, May 22-28, 2011. In addition to providing technical papers, the FAVACA volunteers were able to work with local beekeepers on pest management issues, beekeeping operations, and hive maintenance.  As a result of the Congress, the Eastern Caribbean Honeybee Research Center was established at the St. George University to serve as a beekeeping outreach center to farmers and the agricultural sector in Grenada and the Caribbean.


The use of shade houses to produce vegetable crops (mainly lettuce, tomato, and sweet pepper) is relatively new in Grenada and therefore farmers are not experienced in this sector of agriculture. The use of shade houses has its own management issues which are quite different from the management of open field farming. Some of these issues include: excessive heat, management of pests, disease, plant nutrition, and soil fertility. The Ministry of Agriculture in Grenada has requested an expert to work with local farmers and extension agents in the proper management of shade houses and resolving the aforementioned problems to help these ventures become successful on the island. Dr. Juan Carlos Diaz-Perez, Associate Professor in the Horticulture Department at the University of Georgia's Coastal Plain Experiment Station traveled to Grenada May 1-7, 2011 to work with farmers and extension agents to increase their capacity to better manage shade houses.


The commercial and semi-commercial production of vegetable seedlings in nurseries is a vital aspect for the sustainable development of the vegetable subsector in Grenada.  This activity is still relatively new to Grenada and therefore upgrading seed production and managerial technical skills of nursery operations can play a significant role in improving vegetable production in Grenada. Due to the fact that nurseries are new on the island, farmers are extremely reliant on foreign inputs like potting mix, fertilizer, seeds and pesticides.  To help shift their reliance on foreign inputs to one of self-sufficiency through the use of local materials, the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture in Grenada requested FAVACA's assistance to train extension agents and farmers on sustainable nursery practices.

Mark Rehder, the Executive Director of Farms for Families, a non-profit organization which promotes independent local food systems in Livingston, Montana, agreed to train Ministry of Agriculture field specialists, CARDI extension agents and local farmers on a variety of aspects of greenhouse management from March 5-13, 2011.  Rehder provided a comprehensive training on the variety of greenhouse structures available to farmers, the different type of row and crop coverings available on the market, land preparation and planting, tropical varieties of vegetables, irrigation methods, mulching, and pest management. Rehder also provided trainings on seed production, selection and storage to allow for an increased number of seeds to become available locally therefore reducing the cost of local farmers who mostly purchase expensive imported seeds. As a result of the training, thirty-one participants were able to understand their dependence foreign inputs and learned how to use locally available materials to begin generating their own inputs for their nurseries.


The Ministry of Agriculture of Grenada and CARDI hope to develop protocols for hot water treatment of golden apple fruits (Ambarella, Spondias cytherea,) to allow for export into markets such as the US and EU. Their efforts have been hampered for the past 6 years because Grenada has been dealing with a new invasive species, the West Indian Fruit Fly (Anastrepha oblique), which has infested much of the golden apple fruits and the fruit is therefore unable to pass USDA guidelines for exportation.  A common remedy for infested fruits is a hot water bath which is commonly used throughout the world to kill insects and their larvae and allow the fruit to be exported without spreading the pests to other countries.  Baths need to reach a certain temperature for a specified amount of time to kill all the larvae; however, if temperatures are too hot or the fruit stays in the bath for too long, they can be damaged and are thus unable to be exported.

Ronald Pilgrim, a CARDI post harvest specialist, traveled to Grenada from November 10-13 to train Ministry of Agriculture officials and representatives of post harvest processing facilities on how to institute hot water treatments. CARDI requested an entomologist to work in coordination with the post harvest specialist to determine safe temperatures and time combinations for controlling the fruit flies and their larvae in the fruits after which the post harvest specialist will establish their effects on fruit quality.  Answering the call for assistance was Timothy Holler from the USDA-APHIS-PPQ Center for Plant Health, Science, and Technology- Fruit Fly Genetics and Management Laboratory in Gainesville, Florida who traveled to Grenada November 7-13, 2010.  As a result of the tests performed by Holler and the post harvest specialist, the Ministry of Agriculture can now start looking at developing protocols that would address both the hot water treatment (HWT) to achieve quarantine security for exporting golden apples to the US and reduce pest population in infested areas (a technology which is already developed through the use of fly traps). In addition to working with the post harvest specialist, Holler worked with Pest Management officials and visited several infested areas on the island and trained CARDI and Ministry of Agriculture officials on enhanced methods for infestation control.


In an effort to protect the Eastern Caribbean from invasive Heteroptera pests threatening over 90 species of plants including legumes and vegetables, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) requested FAVACA's assistance to train farmers and extension agents on identifying and eliminating these pests.  The ability to increase food production and even maintain current levels of production has been endangered by outbreaks of the Heteroptera suborder.  Experts were requested to work with farmers and extension agents from IICA, CARDI, USDA, Windward Islands Research and Development Foundation and Grenada's Ministry of Agriculture to control further infestation.  Susan Halbert from the Division of Plant Industry at the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and John Leavengood, a teaching assistant in the Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky, traveled to St. George's, Grenada September 29-October 9, 2010. 

The volunteers trained extension officers from approximately 15 mainly Eastern Caribbean countries, many of which have major infestations of Heteroptera that have caused extensive damage to a variety of crops. The FAVACA volunteers trained participants on specimen preparation techniques, methods to identify Heteroptera pests - especially the cotton seed bug, and conduct field surveys.  Sea Island cotton is a growing industry in many Caribbean countries known for its high quality fibers.  The cotton seed bug feeds on cotton seeds reducing the quality of the seeds and during ginning the bug is often crushed staining the cotton.  The volunteer experts also provided information on other pest species in the region or threatening to reach the Caribbean.  The participants traveled back to their countries of origin to disseminate the information on Heteroptera to other entomologists and extension officers.


A new and young set of tractor operators have been assigned to operate the Grenadian Ministry of Agriculture's Tractor Service to plough land for farmers; however these young operators have little or no formal training in the safe and efficient use of tractors to perform these land preparation tasks. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture requested an expert in land preparation and tilling to work with the Tractor Service employees and agricultural extension officers from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) on equipment safety and proper land preparation.   Lamar Graft, a Farm Safety Specialist, with Iowa State University and Norm Zimmerman, a specialist in Massey Ferguson tractors, traveled to Grenada August 16-25 to provide the training to 20 participants. A safety course was given to operators and training manuals were provided to the Tractor Service, which will be used to implement a safety curriculum for future drivers.  Since many of the tractors required minor maintenance, Zimmerman and Grafft provided a well developed course on tractor maintenance for both minor and major maintenance overhauls on the Tractor Service's equipment. Lastly, they held a driving rodeo to improve the driving skills of the tractor drivers, which focused on land preparation tilling and steep slope driving. As a result of the trainings, the Tractor Service not only improved their land preparation and driving techniques, but also learned machinery maintenance extending the life of the Ministry of Agriculture's farm equipment.


Farmers in Grenada operate with scant knowledge of production costs or profitability.  At times they repeat crops without knowing the impact on their bottom line, or if their cash, time, and efforts could generate greater profits with other products. Reginald Andall, representative from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and Randolph Shears, Director of Extension for the Grenada Ministry of Agriculture contacted FAVACA to request an expert to help build the capacity of local producers and extension officers in business management and profitability assessment for small farmers.  Michael McGuire, Vice-President for Joint Ventures, traveled to Grenada April 15-26, 2010 to provide training using simple agricultural extension spreadsheets to develop budgets for crop and livestock activities.  Participants learned how to calculate and input variable costs, as well as procedures for calculating and allocating fixed costs.  Produce buyers from a supermarket, restaurant, and the government marketing board were invited to afternoon sessions to discuss their expectations for product type, timing, quality, and pricing. Resulting from the sessions, a survey and map of the different types of market outlets and customers available to farmers in Grenada was produced for the participants.  The major markets (supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, market vendors, the governmental marketing board, processors, and direct sales) were assessed in terms of when each outlet type provides advantageous access to the marketplace for the producer.  The concepts of efficiency and differentiation were overlaid on the map to highlight the links between production and marketing strategies, and to identify options for effective farm business strategies. As a result of the training, each interested farmer chose an extension officer to start the process of record-keeping based on the extension materials provided in class. At the end of the year, the farmer will be able to review their expenses and sales and generate an income statement for their farm business, allowing farmers to see which activity provides the most returns for the time and funds invested.


Due to globalization and the increase in seaborne trade throughout the Caribbean, agriculture and other industries are under increased threat from coleopteran pests (e.g. beetles) and other insects. Infestation from these insects could decimate crops, paralyze the agriculture industry, halt construction, and cripple other industries. Some coleopteran pests such as the Mango Seed Weevil is already present on most of the islands in the region while other coleopterans such as the Khapra Beetle are not known to be present but their eradication is of economic importance to the region.

Seeing the need to prevent future infestations in the region, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) contacted FAVACA to source a coleopteran specialist. First time volunteer Dr. Ronald Cave, Fort Pierce, and Bradley Smith, Vero Beach, traveled to St. George's, Grenada September 17-26, 2009. Cave and Smith provided hands-on training in IICA's laboratory and provided lectures on trapping coleopterans, surveying potential infestations, and prevention to 17 participants.

Both experts are from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) - Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC) in Ft. Pierce. Dr. Cave is an associate professor and specialist in Entomology and Nematology arthropods and Mr. Smith, is a Senior Biological Scientist.

Since most Caribbean countries are net importers of grains and pulses, which is a common infestation site for coleopteran pests, it is important to strengthen the capacity for the identification of pests in this Order of insects. Additionally, the need for intensive identification training is heightened by the fact that solid wood packaging is a potential pathway for the introduction of exotic coleopterans into the region. Some countries have already taken some measures to combat infestation problems though the implementation of ISPM #15 (the international solid wood packaging standard) and other countries are in the process of doing so, but more policies need to be enacted.


Dr. Oliver Benoit, Dean for the School of Arts and Sciences at St. Georges University requested an expert to provide a lecture on the legacy of colonialism in Grenada to students in a Caribbean Identity and Caribbean Issues & Perspectives class. Veteran FAVACA volunteer Valerie Scoon, a faculty member at Florida State University's College of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts and President and CEO of True Vision Productions, shared excerpts from a documentary she has been creating on colonialism from several previous FAVACA missions. After viewing the excerpts, Scoon had the class participate in a panel discussion with renowned historian and former Prime Minister George Brizan to discuss issues raised by the documentary on the economic, political, social, and mental legacies of colonialism. In addition to providing a lecture, Scoon and first time FAVACA volunteer Ian Weir, a Post Production Supervisor also from Florida State University's College of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts, completed filming the documentary on colonialism in Grenada. Interviews with George Brizan and Gloria Payne Banfield, who served in the governments of Eric Gairy and Maurice Bishop, as well as other Prime Ministers were conducted. The team also interviewed two men who had been part of the New Jewel Movement and were recently released from prison for the execution of Maurice Bishop and others. Scoon and Weir traveled to St. George, Grenada April 22-29, 2009. Post production of the documentary is underway and the Government Information Services TV has expressed interest in airing the documentary upon completion.


The loss of power due to natural disasters remains a major concern for citizens in the storm ravaged islands of the Caribbean. Cosnel McIntosh, President of the Carriacou Integrated Community Empowerment Resource Organization (CICERO) and Dario Sandrini, President of the YWF-Kido Foundation Inc., invited long time FAVACA volunteer consultant William Young, Cocoa Beach to provide technical assistance on solar energy systems. Young conducted three workshops, May 28-June 2, 2006 for fifty three participants in Grenada and neighboring Carriacou. Workshops provided information on implementing solar solutions for decision makers, managers, disaster relief organizations, and affected communities. CICERO’s mission is “to bring communities closer together through sharing of knowledge, information, and resources, and to heighten disaster awareness and preparedness through education and awareness”. Established in 2004, CICERO is committed to taking proactive and timely measures to prevent or reduce the impact of hazards to the 6,000 people on the island of Carriacou. Young is a senior research engineer with the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), University of Central Florida and has experience in integrating photovoltaic systems into buildings and training for the use of stand-alone units in a disaster environment.


Mrs. Jacqueline Sealy-Burke, director of Legal Aid and Counseling Clinic requested training from FAVACA for facilitators and interviewers at the clinic for addressing the persistent problem of domestic violence toward women in the community. First time volunteer George Michael Droter, New Smyrna Beach conducted the training on October 24-28, 2006 which covered topics related to violence and prevention, anger, stress, substance abuse, effective communications, role-plays and interactive exercises. The professionals at the frontlines acquired knowledge and developed skills for assisting males in choosing alternativfe ways for dealing with their anger and for becoming non-violent. Droter is currently a Facilitator and Counselor for the Florida Domestic Abuse Council, in charge of the Family Violence Intervention Program (FVIP), and the Teen Offenders Program (TOP). These programs address both voluntarily and court ordered men who practice abusive and controlling behaviors towards their partners.


Building on training provided in May 2005, Sister Francis Nelson, chairperson to the Board of Directors, Grenada Child Welfare Authority (GCWA), requested follow up training for Caregivers at five Child Care Homes affected by the natural disasters of the previous year. Disaster-related stress hits relief workers hard, but children are close behind when it comes to suffering post-traumatic stress. Long-time FAVACA volunteer Pat Lager, LCSW, Florida State University College of Social Work consulted with 68 child care providers January 22-27, 2006 and visited the five homes that received grant assistance from FAVACA's Caribbean Assistance and Recovery Grants Program. The training provided insight on how abuse and neglect impact children and provided techniques for staff to deal with behavioral and psychological problems inherent in at risk youth. Lager also met with a large group of community leaders who form the various boards of directors for the homes. This volunteer mission was made possible through the generosity of Jimmy Buffett's Singing for Change Foundation, Outback Steakhouse®, and Carrabba's Italian Grill.


James S. DeVere Pitt, Vice Principal for Academic Affairs, T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) requested continued consultation to follow on the work of FAVACA Volunteer Kim Maddox, Director of the Baccalaureate in Social Work Program at Florida State University, who reviewed the proposed Social Work curriculum and assisted in the development of a plan to expand the College's current program in June of 2004. James Hinterlong, FSU School of Social Work, traveled September 15-20, 2005, to provide training and technical assistance on Social Policy and Aging, and to speak on research methods. He recently wrote a paper on global aging and the involvement of older people in volunteer activities. Hinterlong meet with faculty to assist in the further development of the Social Work curriculum and attended meetings with members of the Ministry, Deans of TAMCC and members of the press. There are currently no certified counselors on the island. The new degree program will help build local capacity to confront social problems in the community. Hinterlong also consulted with Clement Francis, newly appointed Coordinator for the Elderly, on his efforts to assist Minister Bain-Joseph establish a National Policy on the Elderly.

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