Caribbean coconut industry development
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
CARDI aims to enhance the competitiveness of small-scale coconut farmers through market opportunities and improved access to advisory services.

Scientists from the Caribbean Agricultural Re­search and Development Institute (CARDI) are hosting training sessions in Saint Lucia for coconut industry producers and technicians, in the production of quality coconut planting material.

The activity is part of several planned for 2016, which form part of a Caribbean coconut industry development project financed by the European Union through the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC).

The project is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of small-scale coconut farmers by identifying market opportunities, creating syn­ergies between national and region­al programs, and improving access to advisory services for improved coconut production.

Stakeholders have welcomed the initiative for its potential to im­prove income and employment op­portunities, food security, and the overall development of the Carib­bean coconut sector.

CARDI has been contracted by the ITC to implement the "Coconut In­dustry Development for the Caribbean" project in nine CARIFORUM member countries: Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Re­public, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Surina­me and Trinidad and Tobago.

The scientists will also interact with key stakeholders in the coconut industry to conduct mapping of coconut plantations, strengthening producer and processing groups and develop­ing appropriate technological pack­ages for intercropping vegetables and fruits and rearing cattle and small ru­minants under coconut trees. Placing intercrops and animals within coconut plantations increas­es farm productivity and incomes for producers.

The scientists will col­lect relevant information on the coconut industry value chain to be stored within a database developed at the CARDI headquarters in Trinidad. This database will benefit all co­conut stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels.

Future activities for the four-year project include policy directives, certified quality planting material, nursery development, good agri­cultural practices, integrated pest management, processing for value-addition, marketing, finance and business development, quality as­surance and, risk mitigation. In the process, farmers, techni­cians, extension agents, processors, marketers, and other stakeholders will be trained in various coconut production and processing technologies.