Plant Protection

The Plant Protection Research Unit, falling under the ambit of the Research and Development Division in the Ministry is one of the two companion disciplines comprising Crop and Plant Protection Research. It is headed by a Senior Research Director and falls under the general oversight of the Deputy Research Director for Crop and Plant Protection Research.Through its cadre of specialist scientists, Plant Protection provides both research and diagnostic services.

Research

The primary role of Plant Protection is to conduct research aimed at finding solutions to critical pest problems. Projects may be of short, medium or long term, depending on the nature of the problem being investigated. Research findings are made public by way of written material or oral presentations at group or individual levels.Ultimately, the aim of research is to solve farmersí pest problems and enable them to produce better quality crops economically.

Diagnostics

Through its diagnostic laboratories, Plant Protection provides an invaluable service to the agricultural sector by identifying pest and disease specimens and making appropriate recommendations for management. On an annual basis, in the region of a thousand specimens are received and processed. The service saves the agricultural sector millions of dollars in crop loss due to pestsí damage. The Plant Protection team also makes many on-farm visits for diagnostic and advisory purposes.

Ongoing Research Programme

Plant Protectionís Research programme and projects are pursued in accordance with broad national priorities set by the Ministry. Research is conducted across a wide range of crops of economic importance including vegetable, spices, root and tubers, fruit and tree crops and others. Some specific problems under research include pests of hot peppers, pumpkins and yam; diseases of ginger, hot pepper, papaya, potato, cantaloupe and coco; nematodes on plantain; Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV) resistant rootstocks evaluation; and evaluation of control measures for honeybee diseases and pests.

Mission Statement

Falling under the broader mission of Crop and Plant Protection Research, the mission of Plant Protection Research is to generate relevant information and appropriate technologies, for finding cost-effective and environmentally friendly (and sustainable) solutions to critical pest problems affecting Jamaica’s agriculture, thus reducing crop loss and contributing to increased yields and earnings.

In pursuing its stated mission, Plant Protection Research embraces and is guided by the universally accepted philosophy and practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This may be defined simply as the application of one or several tactics to reduce pest problems to non-economic damage levels while ensuring minimal hazard to non-target organisms and the environment.

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Entomology

The study and management of insects (and their relatives), which affect economic plants.

Pathology

The study and management of plant diseases caused by microscopic parasitic fungi, bacteria, viruses and other related organisms.

Nematology

The study and management of microscopic round worms, which live largely in the soil and feed mainly on underground parts of living plants.

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Weed Science

The study and management of weeds (undesirable plants), which affect economically grown plants in fields or pastures.

Apiculture

The section has three distinct functions and is responsible for administrating the Bee Act (1918) through:

  1. Research
  2. Extension
  3. Regulation

Post Entry Quarantine

The section has the responsibility of screening plant materials introduced into the country for propagation, such as seeds and bud wood, to prevent the development and spread of introduced (exotic) noxious pests and diseases. More...