In June 2016, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda in consultation with a Team from the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs (MALFBA) approved an intervention that was intended to strengthen and accelerate the successful attainment of the National Food and Nutrition Security and Sovereignty goals and objectives. This initiative focused on a number of key areas in which immediate action was to be taken by the implementation Team. The resuscitation of the peanut industry in Barbuda was identified as a priority project in this regard.
In July 2016 a Team from MALFBA visited Barbuda and engaged the Council in wide- ranging discussions relating to agriculture on the “Sister Isle” in the short, medium and long terms. Consequently, it was decided that the way forward would be hinged to a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding between the Parties concerning the strengthening and revitalization of the Agricultural Sector. Within this framework, therefore, the Peanut Project in Barbuda was identified for immediate implementation.
The objective of this 3-year project is to re-establish and sustain production in Barbuda as well as Antigua and seek to reduce imports of unshelled peanut by 15-20 percent.
In order to achieve balanced development within the agriculture and allied sectors, the peanut project will be implemented in a strategically inclusive manner taking into consideration the present context and state of the limited agricultural infrastructure and capacity on the island. The specifications of this project have been tailored to provide synergies with the existing situation and systems.
As such, provisions extraneous to the peanut activity per se, will be made with respect to procurement (Table2) and deployment of machinery and equipment, water supply, transportation, repairs/maintenance and support structures. Consequently, in the initial phases the project, the indicators of the benefits and outcomes will be measured not only by financial but also by social and socio-economic impacts.
The main components of the project will be:
- Food production
- Seed production
- Post-harvest and processing
- Support research
The project environment
A brief survey showed that peanut production is traditionally woven into the cultural and socio-economic fabric of the Barbudan society. Over the last 10 years there has been a decline in the industry (a few peanut plants of unknown varieties can now be seen scattered around homesteads).
Some of the factors associated with the current situation are:
- Shift in agriculture focal activity on production lands at Highlands from peanut to livestock
- Inefficient irrigation systems (source-storage/conservation-distribution/use) in other locations
- General decline in the agricultural infrastructure and capacity on the island
- Poor maintenance of equipment and machinery
- Irregular supply of inputs i.e. seeds, fertilizers, agro chemicals
- Outmoded technology. (see Plates in Fig 1: below)
The use of peanut as a snack food is still very popular in Barbuda and about 12,000 pounds of un-shelled nuts are brought into the island annually at an average price of USD $2.5 -$3.0 per pound.
At the National level, however, the equivalent of some 250,000 pounds of un-shelled peanut valued at $EC 2 million are imported.
A comprehensive project (OPTION 1) will be implemented in Phases:
- Phase1 sandy ground 5acres
- Phase 2 highlands and Antigua ADC 10 additional acres
- Phase 3 sandy ground 5, highlands 5, ADC 10, farmers 5
Some of the key immediate actions necessary for success are to:
- Assign full –time, 2 Technicians
- Arrange Barbuda logistics including accommodation for Antiguan technicians
- Manage Inter- island transportation
- Source seeds from the appropriate sources
- Procure inputs
Considerations for targeting are:
- Consumption in Barbuda 12,000 lbs annually
- Antigua value of average annual imports of peanut and peanut =$EC 2.1million
- Volume of average annual imports equivalent to 250, 000 lbs of peanuts
- Project Target 10 % in 3 years = 25 acres
- CARDI will undertake the supporting research and development activities in according with the proposed concept.