After several setbacks experienced in the 1980s, the coconut industry is making a comeback in the Region. Jamaica is one of 11 countries currently benefitting from the Regional 4 year project “Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean” being executed by CARDI in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the European Union (EU).
Under the project, a National stakeholder platform (NSP) was established to ensure the project activities address the needs of the various stakeholders along the coconut value chain. A key output has been the development of a Road Map which identifies the priority areas for developing the industry in Jamaica. Industry stakeholders have prioritized the following areas as critical to the expansion of the industry; the development of a business model, improved access to financing, increased availability of high quality planting material, improved farming practices and access to extension services and good manufacturing practices for processors.
Another key output under the project was the mapping and characterisation of coconut plantations across the island which allowed for the analysis of spatial patterns and issues related to coconut production in Jamaica.
Farmers and other stakeholders in Jamaica have benefited from training workshops on a range of topics including the Production of Quality Planting Material and Coconut Production technology.
To improve the availability and quality of seed nuts available to farmers, two nursery sites have been earmarked in (i) Hanover (to be established) and (ii) St Mary (for refurbishment). The Hanover nursery will also improve access of western farmers to nuts as currently most nurseries are in the east of the island.
Pests and diseases continue to be a major issue impacting productivity, CARDI is working to establish two IPM study plots in St Mary and St Elizabeth to evaluate approaches to the management of coconut Lethal Yellowing, Coconut mite and Ambrosia beetle so that we can inform growers on how to better to tackle these threats.