Efforts to resuscitate the Coconut Industry in Grenada continues, as the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands provides support to farmers who benefitted from a tissue culture coconut initiative in 2016.
The initiative was supported by the Government of Grenada, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, the Yucatan Centre for Scientific Research (CICY), the Mexican Embassy in St Lucia and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
Through this collaborative venture, Grenada was provided with tissue-cultured plants to address the rehabilitation of the coconut industry, through the provision and establishment of improved, early bearing cultivars that are high yielding, disease-resistant and of good tasting quality. One farmer, Joy Peters, who received 15 of these plants in 2016, is now preparing for the harvesting of coconuts.
During a visit to Peters’ farm on 14 August 2020, at La Sagesse, St David, he said, “I was very happy being one of those farmers selected to grow the coconut and to show my appreciation, the least I could have done is to take care of the coconut plants. I wanted to make sure the ministry and IICA were happy to see the work that I was doing to contribute to the rehabilitation of the coconut industry in Grenada.”
The field visit was undertaken by a delegation, which comprised of the Minister for Agriculture and Lands, Hon. Yolande Bain-Horsford; Honorary Consul for Mexico to Grenada, Magdalena Fielden; National Specialist at IICA, Derek Charles, and Agronomist, with responsibility for coconuts in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Troy Augustine.
Minister Bain-Horsford commended Peters for the work that he has done on his farm and committed the ministry’s support towards this project.
The minister said, “I was delighted to see the work he has done on this plot. We at the Ministry are trying to resuscitate the coconut industry. It is a joy for us that Mr Peters’ farm is standing out.”
The tissue cultured plants which came in from Mexico, took approximately 3 months in the nursery and were hardened for approximately 6 months before they were handed over to farmers.
According to the Honorary Consul for Mexico to Grenada, Magdalena Fielden, “Mexico had the seedlings to start this project. When we received them, these plants were babies. I am happy to see how tall and healthy they are. I will do my utmost to have discussion aimed at getting more seeds.”
Agronomist, Troy Augustine, who has been working with the crop for about 10 years said, “The plants imported from Mexico are high yielding, disease-resistant and can begin bearing within 4 years and in the 5th year produce fully. We are committed to getting these trees into full production and to get more farmers involved so they can have an additional income.”
IICA’s National Specialist, Derek Charles, stated that the recent visit was one of the ways of assessing the outcome of the project, by ensuring that Grenada has created the basic capacity required to rehabilitate the coconut industry and has access to improved early-bearing coconuts that are high yielding and disease resistant.
The Ministry of Agriculture is ensuring that sustained planting comes from good planting material and in this regard anticipates that the nuts from the tissue cultured coconut palms will provide a lot more coconut seeds that many more farmers can benefit from, to establish new fields or extend already established plots. More than 20 farmers benefited from the project. The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands continues to offer technical support to the benefiting farmers.