Farmers, investors and technicians working in Barbados’ coconut industry benefitted from a training seminar on the selection of quality planting material and nursery management on 10 August 2017 at the CARDI office, Graeme Hall. The workshop jointly hosted by CARDI, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, and Water Resource Management (MAFFW) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) covered topics such as selection of mother palms, seed nut selection and harvesting, seed bed preparation, record keeping and pest and disease identification. Facilitators, Dionne Clarke-Harris (entomologist) and George Emmanuel (agronomist) used a mix of classroom and practical sessions to introduce and reinforce best practices in these areas.
The lack of quality planting material has been identified as one of the critical factors hindering the development of the regional coconut industry. This activity is one in a series aimed at improving the access and availability of quality materials to revitalise production, under the regional CARDI/ITC Regional Coconut Development Project. In addition to this training, germplasm banks of local high yielding varieties will be established by the MAFFW in Barbados to provide farmers with planting material. Consideration is also being given to the importation of dwarf varieties from Brazil and other countries to boost production on the island. Barbados and eight other countries are benefitting from this regional project which is being funded by the European Union.