UB distributes micro propagated planting materials to benefit the agriculture sector Print E-mail
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Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00

The University of Belize, as a catalyst for change to enable socio-economic transformation and sustainable development in Belize, is producing quality planting materials to benefit the agriculture sector.  Its current focus, at its micro propagation laboratory Central Farm Campus, is Belize’s sugarcane industry.

To date, the University, in collaboration with the Sugar Industry Research & Development Institute (SIRDI), the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) and individual cane farmers of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA), has distributed close to 30,000 micro propagated plants to the sugar industry to establish demonstration plots in the Corozal and Orange Walk areas.  Such plots are to be used by these organizations as trial nurseries to produce quality cane seed for farmers.

Spearheading the activities at the Bio-propagation laboratory is Dr. Stephen Williams, Micro propagation Laboratory Manager.

He said, “the demonstration plots will serve as a practical example for cane farmer organizations of the advantages of using this type of planting materials for establishing plots for seed production as well as encourage them to acquire micro propagated plants for the 2014/15 production years.
Micro-propagation is a technique used in biotechnology where a very small piece of tissue (shoot apex, leaf section, or even an individual cell) is excised and placed in sterile culture medium and is used for rapid multiplication of plants.  The technology can be used to produce large amounts of high quality planting material at key times of year and to introduce large quantities of newly selected quality varieties into an industry.

The state of the art facility, fitted with equipment funded by the European Union and the University was inaugurated in 2011. The technology is being introduced into Belize, to benefit the agricultural sector, through the University’s collaborative links with institutions in Cuba and Mexico. Please contact Dr. Stephen Williams at 824-3775  or Cell 610-2737.