Farmers Field Schools bringing new knowledge to farmers in white potato production

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In Dominica, white potato farmers are being guided on the best production practices, through a series Farmers Field Schools (FFS). The FFSs are taking place throughout the growing cycle of the crop so farmers are receiving hands on practical experience on crop production. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue and Green Economy and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) under the Sustainable Agriculture in the Caribbean (SAC) project implemented by the World University of Canada (WUSC) are conducting the training.


Earlier this year, farmers within the East Agricultural Region established their collective plot, and have now gone on to establish their individual holdings using the theoretical and practical knowledge received from the ‘learning by doing’ field schools.


The SAC notes “The FFS methodology seeks to introduce new techniques and technology to farmers, integrating theoretical and practical sessions for easier adoption and understanding. We are proud to use this platform to reach new white potato farmers fostering a more inclusive and diverse community of agricultural producers.”


The White Potato program is a major initiative of the Government of Dominica which aims to reduce the islands food import bill and increase the sector’s contribution to GDP. The Government of Dominica has set a target for the island’s agriculture sector to contribute $700,000,000 to its GDP by 2030.


CARDI has been working with the Government and WUSC Caribbean to support the white potato program. CARDI Representative in Dominica, Dorian Etienne noted that “the Institute has been involved in the assessment of white potato varieties in different agro ecological zones and has worked with WUSC Caribbean and MoBGEANFS to the develop a cropping calendar.”


According to Dorian “location-specific research to develop and refine appropriate production systems relevant to targeted agro-ecological zones is crucial.” He continued by saying future research areas will target increasing the number of crop cycles within the period conducive to production, investigating appropriate tillage to minimize soil degradation, assessing and/ or developing alternative inputs from locally available material for use as soil ameliorants, pesticides, and bio-stimulants, and evaluating white potato cultivation as part of an integrated crop production system.