Jamaica is one of ten countries, currently benefitting from the regional Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean project, being funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and CARDI.
The Institute has partnered with Coconut Industry Board (CIB), on several initiatives aimed at improving the availability and quality of planting material to farmers. Two sites on opposite ends of the island have been selected for demonstrating good nursery management practices to farmers.
In Spring Garden, Portland the CIB-operated nursery has undergone modifications to its seedbeds to minimize the impact of frequent flooding in the area. In addition, the project has funded the construction of a 10,500 ft² (975 m²) shade house at the site. CARDI and CIB have consulted with the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) on the specifications for an effective irrigation system. The procurement and installation of this system will be supported under the project. The shaded, irrigated, expanded nursery area can accommodate approximately 33,600 seed nuts. Germination rates are expected to improve from 50 to 80%. Through these interventions in the medium-term, acreages are expected to increase by 1,080 acres.
The second nursery site is at Knockalva Agricultural School, Hanover. This nursery is strategically located in the west of the island to increase availability of seedlings in that region. The location also provides an opportunity for youth involvement in coconut industry development. When completed the nursery is expected to supply seedlings for the expansion of 300 acres.
Three Integrated Pest Management (IPM), study/demonstration sites were established in Jamaica to promote IPM strategies against Coconut Mite, Ambrosia Beetle and Coconut Lethal Yellowing Disease. The strategies all emphasize the use of proper field sanitation and fertility management as the key components for mitigating the impact of these maladies on yield (quantity and quality).
The first phase of this project will end on the 30th December 2018 and over the 4 years some other noteworthy achievements in Jamaica have been:
- The establishment of functional National Stakeholders platforms (NSPs) which continue to guide and support the implementation of project activities.
- The forging of strategic alliances with stakeholders along the value chain. Alliance activities are now on-going at the farm level.
The training of local and regional stakeholders in Quality Planting Material, group dynamics; nursery management; pest and diseases of coconut. Alliances to support the value chain; processing of green coconut water; the use of LEAN manufacturing techniques in coconut processing facilities; quality and safety of coconut water have been established. Investment profiles of the coconut industry in Jamaica have been completed.
The completion of a Coconut Water Quality Survey for Jamaica. This has led to a series of planned-partnered (CARDI, CIB, SRC, Ministry of Health, Bureau of Standards of Jamaica and Technological Solutions) follow-up actions.