Increasing agricultural production and productivity are factors which help to ensure food security in these uncertain times. In Antigua and Barbuda, CARDI has been consistently working to improve the availability of quality seeds and planting materials to farmers.
At the CARDI Field Station at Betty’s Hope approximately 0.07 hectares of corn (ICTA FM) and 0.18 hectares of hot pepper (Scotch Bonnet) have been established-and dedicated towards the production of seeds. CARDI manages the entire production cycle (from seed to seed). Farmers can purchase these seeds together with the local pumpkin and local table squash varieties from our seed bank.
CARDI also maintains germplasm banks for several varieties for cassava and sweet potato. Cuttings and slips from these collections have been the source of planting material for many farmers on the island. Paul Lucas, CARDI Representative in Antigua and Barbuda has said the Unit has gone one step further, using improved technology such as the rapid propagation technique to quickly establish cuttings and slips for distribution in a more timely fashion. He says this improved propagation technique ensures farmers have access to more robust, healthier plants which increases their productivity while more effectively utilizing limited parent material.
In support of the Government’s thrust to boost livestock production, CARDI with the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has established forage banks for Mulberry and Moringa. To complement this initiative several museum plots for grasses and legumes have also been established on the field station. From these plots farmers can now obtain planting material to improve the quality and performance of their pastures.
Livestock farmers can learn more about these forages their nutritional value, agronomy and use by scheduling a visit to the field station.