Soon farmers in Dominica will have access to coconut seedlings of a new, superior variety for planting – the Brazilian Green Dwarf.
The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) through the EU/ CARIFORUM financed ‘Coconut Expansion and Enhanced Support for the Caribbean’ project, facilitated the importation of 13,000 seed nuts of the Brazilian Green Dwarf from Tecnologia Na Produção De Coqueiros (COHIBRA), Brazil last year. Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue and Green Economy, the Honourable Roland Royer, expressed his gratitude to the Institute noting that this activity supports the Ministry’s wider policy initiative of rehabilitating the tree crops sector over the next 3 years.
Lakeyia Joseph, Parliamentary Secretary highlighted that apart from “introducing and propagating the Brazilian Green Dwarf seedlings the programme is also focused on increasing coconut processing and utilization.”
In 2017, Dominica’s coconut industry was hit hard by Hurricane Maria, a category 5 storm that led to loss of more than 95% of the country’s coconut trees. As a result, the supply of quality planting material was impacted, hampering farmers and agroprocessors attempts to capitalise on the surging demand for coconut water and other coconut based products.
An 80% germination rate has been recorded for the imported seed nuts which are being grown out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue and Green Economy. From the seedlings produced, approximately 70 ha, of coconut can be established on the island.
The Brazilian Green Dwarf is a widely popular water nut variety. On average a plant produces between 250 – 300 nuts per year under good conditions, with each nut potentially producing between 350 ml to 450 ml of water. An added advantage of this variety is its demonstrated tolerance to Lethal Yellowing. Access to highly productive varieties like the Brazilian Green Dwarf presents profitable opportunities for processors and agripreneurs as well as open the doors for farmers into new markets.
This ‘Coconut Expansion and Enhanced Support for the Caribbean’ project is jointly implemented by CARDI, the International Trade Centre – Alliances 4 Action and other important partners in the Caribbean.