Regional stakeholders participate in resilient coconut production training

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More than 50 persons from across the Caribbean participated in the Regional Workshop on Sustainable and Resilient Coconut Production within a Changing Climate co-hosted by CARDI, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Coconut Industry Board (CIB) from 4-8 March 2024 in Jamaica. This workshop was an activity under Phase 2 of the regional Coconut Project – Alliances for Coconut Industry Development, Expansion and Enhanced Support in the Caribbean financed by the European Union and CARIFORUM.

 

One of the objectives of the project was to build the capacity of participants in areas related to improving coconut production while highlighting opportunities for value addition.

 

During the workshop, theoretical and practical sessions covered topics such as the: establishment of coconut seed gardens, selection of quality mother palms, harvesting of pollen from coconut mother palms, hybridization techniques, practices and processes, coconut nursery establishment and management and processing for value addition. Twelve countries were represented, with workshop facilitators coming from Alligator Head Foundation, the ITC, the CIB and CARDI.

 

While delivering remarks at the opening ceremony, CARDI’s Executive Director, Ansari Hosein noted the 8 year regional project will end in April 2024 and one of the key responsibilities of the Institute was to increase the availability and accessibility to quality planting material. He said during the project CARDI contributed to the establishment of 71 nurseries across 12 countries with the collective capacity of producing between 300,000 – 400,000 seed nuts annually. Additionally, new high yielding tolerant varieties were introduced in Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Grenada – greatly improving the genetic stock in these countries.

 

Minister of Agriculture, The Honourable Floyd Greene, delivered the Feature Address at the workshop and underscored the importance of collaboration, noting that partners from the public and private sectors have positioned the industry on a productive and sustainable footing. He continued by saying that through the work of one of the project’s key partner in Jamaica – the CIB, the country has been able to reduce the spread of the Lethal Yellowing disease by 70 per cent. “Our research in this area has allowed us to develop varieties and hybrids with optimum resistance/tolerance to Lethal Yellowing, which has been plaguing the coconut industry, causing severe economic losses in the industry” said Minister Greene. 

 

Feedback was positive from participants with one remarking that the workshop offered “a stark juxtaposition between farms in transition and fully productive ones, providing an honest portrayal of the coconut industry’s dynamics.

 

Photo credit: Jamaica Information Service