In November, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources procured, prepared and shipped over 5000 lbs of roots and tubers planting material to St Kitts and Nevis. The Institute procured 3000 lbs of eddoes, 3000 lbs of dasheen and 600 lbs of tannia from small farmers in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Another shipment of yams and tannia is expected from St Lucia.
According to the Ministry, the planting material will be supplied to farmers at the Fahies Outreach Center in Newton Ground.
After receiving the shipment from CARDI St Vincent and Grenadines, staff at the Ministry began distributing to farmers. However, Dion Weekes, Extension Officer, explained that for dasheen, the Ministry is preparing mini setts from the corms and propagating them before distributing to farmers. He noted that this will increase both the quantity and quality of the planting material.
The Ministry of Agriculture is seeking to use roots and tuber crops as a key pillar for the promotion of food and nutrition security, reduction of the food import bill and reversing the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases on the island. Increasing and improving the quality and quantity of roots and tuber crops will assist in meeting these strategic objectives.
Roots and tubers are an important source of dietary energy for the population and an important income stream for small farmers. Increasing the production will continue to support their livelihoods of many small farmers and agro-processors.