Lawrence Wilson (14th Nov 1934-2 Dec 2013)

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Lawrence Aldridge Wilson was born on November 14th 1934 in Barataria. He attended San Juan Government and Nelson Street Boys R.C. Primary Schools and St. Mary’s College. He graduated with a B.Sc. degree (1957) and M.Sc. degree in Botany (1960) from the University College of the West Indies (UCWI). In 1964, he obtained a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the University of Bristol.

He joined the Ministry of Agriculture in 1964 and conducted research on mineral nutrition of vegetable and tree crops. He devised a fertiliser management system for farmers and a hydroponic system using coconut fibred “dust” and slow release fertilisers, which gave very high yields of tuber crops and vegetables.

In 1967, he began lecturing in plant physiology/biochemistry at the Faculty of Agriculture, UWI. He led the Root Crop Programme that conducted critical research on tuberous crop biology including early growth and tuberisation, methods for selecting elite cultivars of yams and sweet potato, and methods for extending dormancy in yams for up to 9 months. Some 70 joint publications were produced as a result.

He was appointed Professor of Crop Science (1975) and served as faculty dean from 1981-1984 and 1988-1994. Under his stewardship as dean, he established postgraduate training programmes in food and nutrition and the Distance Education Teaching Programme in Agriculture and Rural Development. He introduced the Caribbean Agricultural Extension Programme, the Continuing Education Programme in Agricultural Technology and the Certificate Programme in Agriculture.

He was the first sub-Regional Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of Latin America and the Caribbean (1965-1966) and served on the board of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Tropical Agriculture and serves on the International Editorial Board of the journal Tropical Science.

Professor Wilson has given over 20 years service to various regional and national bodies including the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI). He is a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Science, Honorary Life Member of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops, and Honorary Life Member and current President of the Association of Professional Agricultural Scientists of Trinidad and Tobago.