Assessing the productivity of Irish Potatoes in Dominica

The cultivation of Irish Potato has been on the rise in Dominica. The Government of Dominica continues to support the production of the crop as a means of boosting food security and as part of the country’s resilience strategy. Presently, the crop is mainly cultivated by small farmers across several agro-ecological zones with minimal use of agro-chemicals.

 

For the 2020/2021 growing season (November 2020 – March 2021), CARDI assessed the production and productivity of the Desiree variety across the country. This variety is resistant to drought and potato virus, bulks early and gives good yields.

 

For the cropping cycle, 57,099 lbs of seed tubers were planted by 126 farmers at an estimated rate of 17,153 tubers per acre. Yield data from four farms across agro-ecological zones showed that the average number of tubers per plant was 8 with an average weight of 0.2 lbs per tuber. Estimated average yield per acre was 27,444 lbs and national production was 526,941 lbs with 458,439 lbs being marketable.

 

The estimated yield per acre for the 2020/2021 crop cycle showed a dramatic increase of 240% when compared with the national average on record for the 2013/2014 cropping season.

 

Cost of production data collected showed an average gross profit of approximately 44%. According to Dorian Etienne, CARDI Country Representative, factors such as suitable variety, favorable climatic conditions and low disease incidence and severity could account for what can be described as a bumper crop. Potato is easy to grow making it particularly attractive to women farmers. Like in previous years, the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) will bulk-purchase a large volume of the white potatoes produced by the farmers and in turn sell it to local retailers.

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