CARDI Jamaica in collaboration with the Coconut Industry Board (CIB) and Knockalva Polytechnic College (KPC), distributed the second batch of over 2,000 seedlings from the coconut nursery established at the KPC, Hanover. This was one of two nursery initiatives in Jamaica led by CARDI under Phase I of the EU/ACP funded Regional Coconut Industry Development Project. The nearly 4,000 seedlings supplied to date, potentially contribute to an approximately 60-acre (24-hectare) expansion of coconut trees planted on the island.
Seedlings have been distributed to 19 farmers from 6 parishes, with 4 of these being on the western side of the island. Previously, coconut farmers procured planting material from nurseries that are primarily located on the eastern side of the island. The KPC nursery, located in the west, will also be used to build the capacity of students and producers in the best practices in coconut nursery management. The practical skills will reinforce the theoretical concepts taught in the classroom. These training sessions will be facilitated by CARDI and CIB.
Jamaica is one of 12 countries benefiting from the 5.8 million Euros in funding, available under Phase II of the project and CARDI supports Jamaica’s vision for the development of the coconut industry. Minister of Agriculture, Floyd Green in his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in Parliament said the Government is seeking to boost coconut production by collaborating with private growers. Minister Green noted that “under this partnership, we are looking to produce 400,000 seedlings per year, which would be a 400% increase, and to plant over 3,000 acres of coconut.”
Under Phase II, the International Trade Centre, CARDI and the network of strategic partners are building on the foundation set to propel the regional coconut industry further along the envisioned development path. Training and research activities are being scaled up at the KPC along with on-farm activities in nursery management, climate smart agriculture, integrated pest management, inter-cropping, mother palm selection and value addition.