The new coconut seedling nursery established under Phase 1 of the EU-funded project, Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean, at the Knockalva Polytechnic College (KPC), produced its first batch of seedlings. Local collaborators on this initiative were; CARDI, Coconut Industry Board (CIB) and the KPC. Seedlings produced in this first batch can supply the expansion of an additional 30 acres (12 hectares) of coconut production on the island, which can yield an additional 2 million nuts per year after five years.
The nursery was established in the western part of the island to improve access to planting material for producers in the western parishes. Producers from four parishes (nine farmers including one female) received seedlings (between, 100-200 seedlings each with one farmer receiving 500 seedlings). The parishes to benefit are: St James (450 seedlings), Westmoreland (900 seedlings), Hanover (350 seedlings), and the central parish of St Catherine (150 seedlings).
The International Trade Centre (ITC) and CARDI have secured additional funding from the European Union (EU) and from the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, to implement a second phase of the project entitled, Alliances for Coconut Industry Development, Expansion and Enhanced Support for the Caribbean, over the next four years. Seedling production at the Knockalva nursery will continue under Phase 2.
Also under Phase 2, seedlings from this first batch will be used to establish two acres (0.8 hectares) of coconuts on the grounds of the KPC. This established planting will serve as a field school for students and coconut producers. They will be trained in good agriculture production practices. Training sessions will be facilitated by CIB and CARDI. Research activities will also be conducted in the field and nursery.