The Ministry of Agriculture is collaborating with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute CARDI, to provide technical assistance to other countries in the region.
CARDI Representative in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Gregory Robin says the construction of the Tissue Culture Laboratory here, under the CARDI/CFC project, is beginning to bear fruit.
The Laboratory was constructed for the purpose of micro-propagating, multiplying and distributing new, improved, high yielding root and tuber crop plant materials (sweet potato, cassava, dasheen, yam) to the OECS and the wider Region.
Dr. Robin says plantlets of sweet potato, cassava and dasheen have been successfully distributed to other OECS countries, as well as to Barbados and Jamaica. However some countries have had difficulty in weaning and hardening cassava plantlets.
Due to the high failure rates experienced both in Grenada and St. Lucia when receiving, weaning and hardening cassava plantlets, CARDI sought technical assistance from the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines through the skills of Rohan Mc Donald, biotechnologist at the laboratory in SVG.
To transfer the success in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr. Mc Donald will visit Grenada and St. Lucia to train their local Ministry of Agriculture and CARDI staff in all aspects of weaning and hardening root and tuber crops tissue culture plantlets.
Training commenced in Grenada this week and will end in St. Lucia on December 31, 2013.
A release from the Ministry of Agriculture says CARDI, through projects funded by the CARICOM/Japan Fund and the IICA-CARDI Technical Cooperation Agreement, has provided the SVG laboratory with funding (US$ 18,551.00) for micro-propagating sweet potato, cassava and dasheen plantlets.
The laboratory receives technical support in disease diagnostics from the CARDI laboratory in Barbados.
The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Honourable Saboto Caesar, has pledged support to CARDI in this endeavour.