CARDI Collaborating with Ministry of Agriculture to Support Local Initiatives

(GIU Press Release) – The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MALHE) will be working in partnership with The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), to implement a number of agricultural development activities on island from May to December 2024.

CARDI, in keeping with the approved 2024 Work Plan for Montserrat, will be collaborating with MALHE to plan and implement initiatives covering livestock, crop production, agro-processing and training programmes in support of the development of various agriculture value chains. The specific activities are as follows:

Development of the coconut industry

CARDI will source and introduce Lethal Yellowing tolerant coconut varieties for establishment of a seed garden. These plants will be the source of future planting material for farmers. The varieties to be imported are: 100 Brazilian Green Dwarf seed nuts from Mexico, 100 Maypan seed nuts from Jamaica and 50 Panama Tall seed nuts from Mexico.

Livestock Development

CARDI is seeking the assistance of technical experts from Jamaica to provide training to local farmers and livestock personnel from the Ministry of Agriculture on ‘Artificial insemination in pigs and small ruminants. The Institute will also provide planting material for the following forages: Chrysopogan (sweet grass), Gliricida (rainfall tree) and Mulberry (fruit tree) to farmers as well as establish one forage bank at the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment.

Rehabilitation of the Pineapple industry

The Institute is currently assisting with the characterization of pineapples produced on the island. As a follow up to this activity, a programme to increase the supply of pure planting material of the characterized variety will be implemented. In the interim, Antigua Black plantlets from St. Vincent and Grenadines will be introduced into Montserrat and its agro ecological performance evaluated.

Rehabilitation of the hot sauce industry

CARDI has instituted a programme to support the commercialization of Scotch Bonnet, by ramping up the production of seeds. Capacity building workshops geared towards improving hot pepper production and yield will be organised to complement this initiative.
Both activities will contribute to improving the raw material base for hot sauce production.

Sweet potato weevil management

As part of an integrated pest management programme, a farm plot will be established to demonstrate improved pheromone mass trapping of the Sweet Potato Weevil. Pheromone mass trapping is an alternative form of pest control utilizing the insect’s secretions to
attract males of the species, thus reducing breeding population.

Management of Giant African Snail

The Institute will conduct sensitization and training on biosecurity measures against the Giant African Snail.

This work plan builds on previous initiatives and achievements undertaken by CARDI in Montserrat. During the period 2019 – 2024, CARDI has conducted training on the management of Pests and Diseases and Nutritional deficiencies in vegetable crops which benefited seven members of staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and 13 farmers; CARDI Representative, Junior Greene visited four livestock farmers and identified problems with respect to access to feed and forages; and high-quality seeds and clean, healthy planting material produced at CARDI Antigua and Barbuda were supplied to the Ministry of Agriculture to support agriculture production on Montserrat, among others.