The cultivation of white potato has been on the rise in Dominica. The Government of Dominica continues to support the production of the crop, as a
means of boosting food security and as part of the country’s resilience strategy. The Ministry of Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security (MoBGEANFS), imports elite seeds and makes them available to farmers prior to the cropping season which starts in October.
CARDI has been working with the MoBGEANFS, to evaluate some of these varieties in different agro ecological zones. In 2021 the Institute evaluated the Desiree variety. According to CARDI Representative, Dorian Etienne the information gathered from these evaluations is important in estimating national production, assessing productivity, and identifying areas for improving production and productivity.
To complement this activity the Institute collaborated the University Service of Canada (WUSC) and MoBGEANFS, to develop a cropping calendar for white potato in Dominica, under The Sustainable Agriculture in Caribbean (SAC) Project. The publication targets farmers and provides information which enables them to better plan and schedule activities as well as estimate their cost of production.
The Calendar provides generalised guidelines on varietal selection, site selection, land preparation and irrigation etc. A concise guide to best practises follows, for each stage of crop development. Farmers are advised to contact the Extension services at the MoBGEANFS, to effectively control pest and disease occurrence and other related issues.
The calendar is simple and easy to follow and provides a snap shot of the entire production cycle for white potato. Guidelines are also
provided for post-harvest management. Key areas covered are harvesting (maturity index), transportation and storage. White potatoes produced are bulk purchased by the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) who in turn sells it to local retailers.
The MoBGEANFS notes that white potato is considered a quick cash crop, with a return on investment approximately three months post planting. They see it as an entry point for youth and women to agriculture. The cropping calendar can be downloaded from CARDI’s website.