The coconut industry in the Caribbean should soon be receiving a further boost as the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) is set to finance a second coconut project in the region.
This is according to Programme Manager of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Katja Svensson.
She was speaking at the recent Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) Day of activities.
Svensson revealed that on Wednesday, December 5, a decision was made to finance a second coconut project, which will span a period of five years and will have a total budget of €6-million.
She explained that the second project will build on the first one, which concludes at the end of this month. The four-year project, she said, had made significant steps in researching regional and global development in the coconut industry as well as the entire coconut value chain.
“I know there will be focus also on the development of coconut nurseries and also support to multiplication of varieties to increase coconut production efficiency… coconut waste management and the promotion of climate smart practices will also form part of the project activities,” Svensson stated.
Barbados is one of the Caribbean countries earmarked for implementation of the project.
CARDI Barbados representative, Ansari Hosein, in his opening address to mark 44 years since the establishment of CARDI, stressed that the time “is now for agriculture to take a significant role” in the development of Barbados.
He linked the agriculture and tourism sector by noting: “As we seek to develop the tourism industry to increase the numbers of tourists coming to Barbados to spend cash, you must be able to feed them using local products.”
It is unclear if, and how, the coconut industry in Dominica will benefit from that project.
Dominica News Online (DNO) has attempted to contact the Ministry of Agriculture without success thus far. We will continue our efforts to reach agriculture officials for comment.