2009 Country Highlights Report (1,131kB, PDF)

Highlights 2005 – 2007 Work Programme

The Government of St Kitts and Nevis allocated 5.6 ha of land at Estridge Estate to be used as the new field station by the CARDI Unit. This offer demonstrates the continued commitment of the Government to the work of the Institute. In the spirit of such commitment and true cooperation, CARDI, in 2005 developed a strategic agricultural marketing plan for the Government of St Kitts and Nevis, and in 2006, followed with the development of a short term operational marketing plan for implementing the strategy. The Institute also prepared a project proposal for the operation of a greenhouse for vegetable production by a group of women who were formerly employed in the sugar industry. Designs for a Government pack house facility were also completed.

Over the past five years, 30 sweet potato varieties (10 local, 19 USDA and 1 South African) have been evaluated at the St Kitts and Nevis Unit for their productivity and resistance to particularly sweet potato weevil Cylas formicarius. During the past two years resistance to soil grubs (Phyllophaga sp.) has also been studied. Of the local varieties, ‘Clarke’ exhibited the highest yield potential, estimated at over 69,000 kg/ha, followed by ‘Never Miss’ (42,600 kg/ha). The varieties ‘W 315’ (48,200 kg/ha), ‘95-190’ (48,000 kg/ha), ‘95-175’ (47867 kg/ha) and ‘Jewel’ (46715 kg/ha) were the more productive from the USDA collection. For weevil resistance, in general, the USDA cultivars suffered more tuber damage than the local cultivars. The two USDA varieties that showed the least resistance to sweet potato weevil were ‘White Regal’ and ‘PI 3997’. The local varieties ‘Kenneth’, ‘Romney Vine’, ‘Sugar Root’ and ‘LRSOF’, and the USDA varieties ‘Picadito’, ‘95-175’, ‘Regal’ and ‘94-37’ had no root damage at all or just minimal weevil damage. The highest incidence of damaged tubers due to grub occurred in 8 varieties; five local (‘Sugar Root’, ‘Never Miss’, ‘Green Acres’, ‘Kenneth’, ‘Cabey’), two USDA (‘Jewel’, ‘W-315’) and the South African (‘Mandela I’) varieties. The lowest incidence occurred in two USDA varieties, ‘Regal’ and ‘97-82’ where none of the tubers suffered grub damage.

The efficacy of biological insecticides, Botanigard and Naturalis T&O (active ingredient Beauvaria bassiana), in the management of sweet potato weevil and the grub was tested against Neem-X® (azadirachtin), Actara® (thiamethoxam) and Admire (Imidacolprid) on two sweet potato varieties – ‘Black Vine’ and ‘Lover’s Name’. Preliminary data showed reduced levels of tuber damage due to weevils and grubs in the plots treated with Natularis and Botanigard and that the protection afforded was sustained throughout the four month growth period.

In collaboration with the Agricultural Technical Mission of the Republic of China on Taiwan (CTM) CARDI has been evaluating a redesigned trapping system for the sweet potato weevil. This trap uses a smaller dispenser for the pheromone lure and a trap body which can be made with recycled plastic bottles. When compared to the standard traps, this new trapping system captures up to eight times as many weevils. Other advantages of this trap are its ease of construction and operation due to its modular design and the fact that no water is required for its use unlike with the standard system.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Unit participated in the project that characterised, for value added products, sweet potato varieties from Barbados, Jamaica, St Kitts/Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago and funded under the CARICOM/Japan Friendship Agreement Programme. The variety, ‘Clarke’ was found suitable for flour.

High yields of marketable onion bulbs were obtained from out of season production studies in Nevis, demonstrating that it was possible to extend the onion production season with resulting increases in economic returns.

Ongoing control strategies and management studies for the West Indian Fruit Fly (Anastrepha obliqua Macquart) undertaken by CARDI, in collaboration with the University of Florida and the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), received a boost through the complete renovation and upgrade of the insectary by another major collaborator in this project, the local Department of Agriculture.