The Ministry of Agriculture, on Monday August 16, distributed 400 plantain slips to 20 farmers to launch a programme aimed at
increasing the availability of plantains on the island.
According to a release from the Government Information Unit, the programme, which is the brainchild of the Minister of Agriculture, Crenston Buffonge, uses a rapid increase plantain propagation method known as PIF, to produce a large number of slips.
Each farmer received 20 slips. The ministry said that they will continue the process to allow backyard gardeners who have indicated an interest to receive plantain slips as well.
Director of Agriculture, Melissa O’Garro revealed that they currently have a waiting list of 40 people, adding that everyone will not get
immediately, but the goal is to eventually give to everyone who has made a request.
O’Garro called the programme “timely”, as the island has been unable to meet the local demand for plantains. “It is also important as many of the other islands struggle with increasing incidences of pests and disease which impact the musa species, (plantains fall under the musa species) thereby preventing the importation of plantains and bananas.”
The ministry hopes that with the increased availability of plantains, agro-processors will branch into producing plantain flour and chips, among other food items.
The Ministry of Agriculture intends to continue the programme into next year, the release stated.