CARDI, World Veg Host Successful Capacity Building Workshop

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CARDI and the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) through funding from the Government of Taiwan hosted the “3rd Annual Workshop and Training Course – Promoting vegetable diversity for more resilient livelihoods and healthier diets in Latin America and the Caribbean” from 22 – 26 April 2024 in Belize. This workshop is part of a wider project that began in 2021 which aims to conserve available vegetable biodiversity for future use and introduce and promote new vegetable varieties for domestic and export markets to sustainably improve the livelihoods of resource-poor populations in Central America and Caribbean countries. The new varieties were produced by the WorldVeg.


At the workshop, representatives from the project countries: Belize, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Paraguay. Guatemala and Haiti shared updates from their work.


The 4-day training event also aimed to improve the proficiency of researchers in the Region on disease diagnosis and management, breeding strategies, and seed production, with a special focus on pepper and tomato. Trainers included WorldVeg researchers Derek Barchenger (pepper breeder), Assaf Eybishitz (tomato breeder) and Lourena Maxwell (plant pathologist).


The opening of workshop on 21 April, 2024 was attended by the Minister of Agriculture, The Hnourable. Jose Abelardo Mai and Ambassador of Taiwan to Belize, Hon. Li-Wen Hsu. Joining the overseas participants for the training were local representatives for the University of Belize, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise and farmers.


In Belize, CARDI evaluated the performance of 7 tomato varieties. These lines were evaluated for their adaptation to local conditions, tolerance to pests and diseases and consumer preference. The results were promising for the 7 tomato lines. Subsequently, the Institute identified farmers to evaluate these selected lines in, on-farm trials following best management protocols and practices. The aim is to introduce, new productive, adaptable vegetable varieties to farmers.


Evaluation trials for 7 tomato, 9 broccoli and 3 sweet pepper lines were completed by CARDI in St Kitts and Nevis. As a follow up, 4 lines of broccoli and 3 sweet pepper and 6 tomatoes are being planned in 4 agro ecological zones across the country. Similar evaluation trials will take place at CARDI’s Field Stations in St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.