With support from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), 1,500 Lethal Yellowing resistant coconut plantlets from Mexico have been added to Grenada’s coconut stock, as the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) continues its coconut resuscitation program.
The high-yielding varieties were obtained through the efforts of the Institute, acting on a request by the MOA and with collaboration from the Government of Mexico.
As part of this initiative, technical staff and extension officers have received training in proper management of the plantlets, and 40 selected coconut farmers will also be trained in coconut agronomy and in how to take care of the plants. They will be expected to multiply the new varieties, which will then be available to the rest of the population.
According to Derek Charles, national specialist at the IICA Delegation in Grenada, the idea of this action is to create the basic public and private capacity to rehabilitate the coconut industry by 2018, and to have access to improved, early-bearing cultivars that are high yielding, disease resistant, and of good tasting quality.
In Grenada most of the livelihood of rural communities depended on the coconut industry prior to the hurricanes. However, following the major Hurricanes of Ivan and Emily in 2004 and 2005 respectively, as well as disease and pest infestation, Grenada’s coconut industry was at its lowest level with production reduced by as much as one half.
Chief Agricultural Officer, Daniel Lewis, said the high-yielding plants would positively affect the coconut sector in a significant way by boosting the production of coconuts for the fresh market, as well as for the agro-processed markets.
Coconut is a main ingredient in Grenada’s national dish, oil down.