In Grenada, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Ministry of Agriculture and the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) have initiated a grafting trial on a nutmeg field established in 2016 by farmer Ambrose Phillip in Belvedere.
Last April when the trees began flowering Phillip discovered that 80% of his plants were males.
Biologically nutmeg trees are dioecious with only the female plants able to produce fruits. The agencies are trialing the use of grafting to convert these unproductive male trees into productive fruit bearing ones using bud wood sourced from female trees with the desirable characteristics such as thick mace and big seeds. CARDI Representative in Grenada, Reginald Andall explained that grafting is a cheaper option than techniques such as DNA sequencing and once successful it will protect the farmers’ investments.
Check out this video to learn more about the procedure
The success of this trial will bring hope to hundreds of farmers who continue experience this setback to production said General Manager of the GCNA, Roderick St. Clair. The GCNA has the mandate to develop and market nutmeg.
Following several challenges, Grenada’s Nutmeg industry is on the cusp of a resurgence. The growth in demand for the dried and value added products are offering significant economic opportunities to farmers on the island. In 2019 the GCNA reported that it purchased 2.6 million pounds of nutmeg from farmers for export and value added product development. Also in June 2019, Grenadian nutmeg received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, allowing the country to exploit untapped opportunities within the United States export market.