The Cotton Division continues to play a major role in Agricultural Development
20th February 2019-02-20
The Cotton Division continues to play a major role in Agricultural Development.
The Cotton Station within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs was established in 1946 and comprises fourteen (14) acres of cotton lands for its research and seed multiplication programme.
Information from Senior Research Officer Maud Vere Bradford stated that work is focused on the Montserrat Sea Island Cotton which is the variety of cotton grown in Antigua and Barbuda.
This variety is distinctly known for its pure strain, beauty and long lint length.
It is highly demanded on the Japanese market. Over the years the Station maintained over 75 cotton varieties in its local gene bank.
“We export Cotton lint to Japan and export cotton seeds to the Leeward Islands (cotton growing areas). In fact, the station was established to provide seeds and breeding work activities for the Leeward Islands.’’
The Close Season for Cotton runs from May 1st to July 1st while the Planting Season runs from August to September.
The work of the Cotton Division is conducted at two Field Stations- the Central Cotton Station
and the Dunbars Experimental Station which are both located at Friar’s Hill.
The Dunbars Experimental Station was founded in 1969 and is the Crop Research Unit in the Department of Agriculture.
The area was selected for this Station because the results of soil tests revealed that the area has representative soil types of all soil types in Antigua and Barbuda, hence any crop can be cultivated there.
It has approximately nine (9) acres of land available for the development of crop research which involves the validation of technologies, protection and conservation of plant genetic resources, data/information gathering and dissemination of research work in enhancing technology transfer.
The Station is also responsible for the introduction, adaptability, testing and use of new technology to promote agriculture in Antigua and Barbuda.
Both Stations are located in the Limestone Belt of Antigua and Barbuda.
The main functions of the Cotton Division are to promote Crop improvement (Multiplication and Conservation), Seed production and Distribution and Research.
Research results in improved cotton production practices including pest management, yield improvement, plant nutrition, up to date cost of production , harvest efficiency and the production of up to date technical package for cotton growers.
Extension Services that are being offered include receiving enquiries and advising individual cotton growers as required and responding to new problems and challenges brought to the attention of the Division, such as new flora and fauna pests in cotton production.
All Activities of the Stations are conducted in collaboration with other national agencies, regional and international development partners and the private sector.