White potato fertilizer trial gets underway in St Vincent and the Grenadines

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St Vincent and the Grenadines is targeting to produce 5 million EC dollars’ worth of white potato annually for local consumption under their National White Potato Production Project. This initiative is a key component of St. Vincent and the Grenadines commitment to the CARICOM 25 by 25 initiative and the country’s National Diversification Programme. It is led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour (MAFFRTIL), in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Government of Dominica, and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).

 

The Spunta and Desiree varieties were introduced to St Vincent and the Grenadines from Dominica. In February, a fertilizer trial was established at the Institute’s Research Station in Orange Hill to assess the impact of different fertilizer rates on growth and yield. A split plot design was set up with 4 treatments (3 different fertilizer rates and 1 control (no fertilizer). The assignment of treatments were randomized with each treatment replicated 4 times to account for variability in the field.

 

The treatments being investigated are standard NPK recommendation for white potato (T1), 25% increase above the recommended rate (T2) and 25% decrease below the recommended rate (T3). A control, where no fertilizer was applied was also established.

 

The plants have begun flowering and data collection is ongoing. Some of the parameters being assessed include the plant height, time of flowering, tuber weight, size and number of tubers at harvest.

 

White potato is a non-traditional crop in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the objective is to provide farmers with the best information to guide them to successfully produce the crop says CARDI Representative, Donawa Jackson.

 

The project is timely as the country is experiencing a growth in the hospitality sector. The local production of white potato will support the sustainability of the sector while contributing to the livelihoods of farmers and economic prosperity for the country.