The use of quality seeds in agricultural production systems that represent trueness of the variety, gives a high germination percentage, are free of seed borne pests and diseases and debris will almost certainly guarantee good yields. The production of Table Squash seeds continue to be a major focus of the Antigua and Barbuda Unit’s annual work programme. The seed production programme for squash has a dual function: to produce seeds for the farming community and to preserve the genetic diversity of the crop. In May, CARDI established a ¼ acre at the Betty’s Hope field station.
To guarantee the production of high quality, genetically pure seeds, the fields were isolated and judicious care practiced throughout the life of the crop, paying particular attention to rouging and weed control. In August 721 kg (1590 lbs) of seeds were extracted. The seeds were cleaned, dried, sorted, graded, labelled and stored at the Unit’s newly refurbished seed storage room. Table squash is an integral part of the Antiguan diet and an important vegetable in the country’s school feeding programme.