To commemorate World Coconut Day on 2nd September 2021, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Alliances for Action programme announced a partnership between Barbadian farmer A.T Nicholls and the West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD). Through the European Union (EU) and CARIFORUM supported ‘Alliances for the Coconut Industry Development Expansion and Enhanced Support for the Caribbean’ project, coconut farmer A.T Nicholls will supply coconuts to WIRD. The coconut flesh will be extracted and infused into one of the company’s newest product offerings – Plantation Cut & Dry.
It took WIRD’s expert team four years to achieve the perfect recipe. Managing Director of WIRD, Andrew Hassell, said that “this is a very exciting project, as the distillery focuses not only on making the very best rum but also on supporting the Barbadian community by promoting and developing synergies with local farmers.” The plantation cut and dry coconut rum blends sugarcane and molasses with coconut flesh. This venture may assist in reviving the sugarcane industry while stimulating growth in the coconut sector through the provision of market space for locally produced agricultural products.
A.T Nicholls has been working in agriculture for decades. He started with cash crops including sugar cane and moved into planting coconut trees in 2006, which has become part of his retirement plan. Presently, with his small staff, he processes coconut water and cane juice while also producing other crops such as sweet potato and cassava for the local market. Farmer Nicholls has dedicated 225 coconut palms of the 5-year variety to this initiative. This variety has a thicker flesh when compared to the 3-year variety.
CARIFORUM, a strategic supporting partner in ITC and CARDI’s activities, prioritizes the promotion of local value addition, import substitution and the development of value chains in the Caribbean region.
The project is being implemented by ITC-Alliances for Action and key regional partner CARDI, while CARIFORUM, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the EU remain strategic partners of both agencies’ activities.