Caribbean farming conference starts today at Sugar Bay

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ST. CROIX - Farming will be the big topic this week on St. Thomas as more than 200 agriculturists representing 22 countries converge on the island for the Caribbean Food Crops Society's 50th annual meeting.

Clarice Clarke, spokeswoman for the University of the Virgin Islands Coorperate Extension Service, said the conference will be held at Sugar Bay Resort and Spa through Friday.

She said this year the conference will be joined by the AgroEconomic Society, the Association of Research Directors, the Association of Extension Administrators, the American Phytopathological Society-Caribbean Division, and the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association Committee on the Status of Blacks in Agricultural Economics.

The host organization fosters communication among persons capable of contributing to the development of science, technology and production of food crops and animals in the countries of the Caribbean Basin, Clarke said.

The Caribbean Food Crops Society hosted its first meeting in 1963 and has met in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1972, 1984, and every 10 years thereafter. This year's meeting will include oral and poster presentations, exhibits, a local farmers' forum, and educational tours. Registration fees are $350 for professionals and $250 for students.

Topics are expected included tax exemption and benefits for farmers, procedures and regulations for importing plant materials into the USVI from other Caribbean islands, marketing and merchandising of agricultural products, procedures for operating a business in the Virgin Islands, investment programs and benefits for farmers and procedures and concerns regarding the acquisition of agriculture lands.

Society Director and President Kwame Garcia Sr. said he anticipates the golden anniversary meeting of the organization will be one of the most diverse and extensive gatherings of agricultural researchers, educators, students and administrators.

For information, contact Evannie Jeremiah, at 692-4094, or email

-Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

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