As part of the Research Week, Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Mauritius yesterday presented four projects - Food Safety, Value Addition Technologies, Bioprospecting and Biodiversity and Climate Change and Agriculture - to advance research in the country. Bringing together some 300 students spread over several programs of study, the stakeholders, the faculty fouses its main research on food security and dialogue among stakeholders. The day saw a dozen oral presentations of students and lecturers and an exhibition of 14 posters.
For 2011, the Faculty of Agriculture has four PhD students, an MPhil and about 300 others in many an undergraduate curriculum, including Agriculture, Aquaculture, Forestry and Food Science and Technology.
At a presentation yesterday, Dr Francoise Driver, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, declared that the mission Faculty: to help advance research in the country. "We must ensure that Mauritius can contribute and benefit in terms of education, training and research," said Ms Driver.
The Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture believes that it should promote the link between research and education because, she said, the two go together. She added: "We need to produce employable graduates who in turn put their knowledge to the benefit of society. " The main objectives of the Faculty of Agriculture: promote capacity building in research, produce highly qualified graduates, promoting the publication in internationally recognized research literature and develop a new generation of researchers.
The four research projects presented at the Research Week cover Food Safety, Value Addition Technologies, Bioprospecting and Biodiversity and Climate Change and Agriculture. The first project is to evaluate the safety practices of food (food preparation, cooking and service) by street vendors during trade. The second will analyze the characteristics of the breadfruit to determine if it can be a substitute for wheat flour and determine the viability of producing dried sausages from spent layer hens.
The Biodiversity and Bioprospecting is to study the properties of pesticides, antioxidants and antimicrobial some local marine sponges, namely, the Plakortis Nigra, Pericharax Heterorhaphis, Biemna tubulosa and Styliss. The last project, the Faculty of Agriculture has analyzed this year the effects of climate change in relation to agriculture of Mauritius and identify potential areas for research on agriculture.