CARDI – Caribbean Agriculture Research & Development Institute
Overview: Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) – Improving lives through agricultural research.
CARDI’s Strategic Goal : Building a productive and resilient regional agriculture sector.
Strategic Programmes : Value Chain Services, Policy and Advocacy, Institutional Strengthening, Partnerships and Strategic Alliances,.
Areas of Focus: Climate change, Youth and Gender, Results- Based Management, Inclusion and Equity, ICTs, Resource Mobilization, Financial Sustainability
CARDI Antigua and Barbuda:
- Seed Production and Management(Hot pepper, corn, pumpkin, table squash, egg plant)
- Roots and Tubers (Sweet Potato and Cassava)
- High Quality Forages and Alternative Feed Mixes (Shrubs, legumes, grasses)
- Climate Smart Agriculture and Knowledge Management (Improved technology and techniques, adaptation and mitigation measures, planning and management)
- Collaborative Work (Partnerships and strategic alliances. CARDI’s primary partner is the Ministry of Agriculture. CARDI also works closely with IICA, FAO, Prison Farm, NGOs, farmers, farmer groups and backyard farmers.)
- Genetic Conservation and Risk Management (Seed Bank, germplasm)
- Project Oasis (Increasing the capacity of the unit)
Mr. Junior Greene
Please meet Mr. Junior Greene, he is the new CARDI Representative for Antigua/Barbuda and Montserrat. He is described as a self-motivated, enthusiastic, talented, and results-oriented individual with over two decades of experience.
Mr. Greene has a MSc in Tropical Crop Protection and a BSc in Agriculture. He is certified in Landscape Management, Molecular Diagnosis of Emerging Plant Diseases, Integrated Plant Health Management and conversational Spanish. All from the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Additionally, Mr. Greene received certification from the Committee Linking Entrepreneurship Agriculture Development (COLEAD) in Crop Protection and Safe Use of Pesticides in the Caribbean.
His working experience over the years includes a joint project between the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on using “Food- Food-grade methods” as an alternative to the use of highly hazardous pesticides in the horticultural industry. project with the UWI helping to identify pests and diseases, nutritional deficiencies in various crops for farmers in Trinidad and Tobago, and a host of other problems and offering solutions.
Prior to his new post Mr. Greene worked for CARDI to select and characterize hot peppers, he worked on the commercialization of several products which now form part of CARDI’s Arsenal in the fight against agricultural pests and diseases, conducted workshops, introducing new technologies, and identifying new and invasive pests and diseases with farmers and other stakeholders within the region.
When asked what were his strengths his response was, “My strengths are in entomology and disease identification; pesticide usage and abuse, and the empowerment of different small groups throughout the region”.
CARDI representative – Mr. Junior Greene met and held discussions with Prime Minister Gaston Browne
CARDI Antigua and Barbuda 2022
In January 2022, CARDI continued to execute its extensive work program for Antigua and Barbuda with special focus on water resource management in agriculture. CARDI’s program features hot pepper, corn, pumpkin, eggplant, sweet potato, cassava, plantain, banana, coconut, mulberry, gliricidia, moringa and fruit trees (lemon, sugar apple, papaya, pomegranate, soursop, west Indian cherry, guava, malay apple).
Seed Production and Management
The seed production and management program delivered by CARDI is a very comprehensive program because the entire physiological development of the selected crop is managed at CARDI’s field station. This process involves: setting the seeds, management of the young seedlings, hardening of the seedlings, suitable field preparation, transplanting the hardened seedlings into the field, monitoring of the plots, weed management, pest management, fertilizer management, harvest of the mature crop, post-harvest treatment of crop, extraction of the seeds and quality assurance testing for the seeds before they enter the seed bank at CARDI. West Indies Red hot pepper, corn, pumpkin, table squash and eggplant are the crops which have been managed for the purposes of seed production.
Roots and Tubers
Roots and tubers continue to be a priority for the fourteen CARDI units within the Caribbean. CARDI units are located in Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines while the Head Quarters of CARDI is in Trinidad and Tobago. At CARDI Antigua and Barbuda the unit primarily focuses on sweet potato and cassava. At the moment there 15 sweet potato varieties at the unit. Butterstick is the only variety of cassava at the unit. The maintenance of clean healthy planting material is important as one considers genetic conservation, risk management and value chain development.
In support of the livestock farmers the CARDI Antigua and Barbuda unit has established a collection of high quality forages which can be propagated vegetatively. Mulberry, gliricida, moringa, chrysopogan, elephant grass, guinea grass, green panic and sugar cane are present at CARDI.
Climate Smart Agriculture
CARDI maintains a strong focus on climate smart agriculture and the ability to develop more climate resilient systems. In January 2022 the CARDI Representative Mr. Paul Lucas attended a regional climate resilience workshop and was awarded his certificate of participation for the successful completion of the Building Climate Change Resilience Workshop January 11- 13, 2022 by the University of the West Indies, Mona. Many of the ideas and innovations suggested were well received by Mr. Lucas and many innovations presented were consistent with current interventions already used at CARDI Antigua and Barbuda.
Improved Technology and Techniques
Improved technologies and techniques are currently on display at the unit and these continue to improve both the level of production and productivity. Examples of improved technology include: mulch (plastic/ biodegradable/ organic), the use of drip system, fertigation system, shade house, humidity bin, wick system, recycling plastic containers, retrofitted tables for seedling management, rain water harvesting, increased water holding capacity, subsurface irrigation, cisterns and use of improved varieties of seed/crops.
Genetic conservation has become even more critical as one examines risk management, climate change, the COVID 19 pandemic and wars. Changing weather and dramatic weather may pose a risk to many farmers and their investments. CARDI has a seed bank where seeds are safely stored in the event of a natural disaster or during severe drought situations. This provides a safeguard for the sector where selected seeds are stored and this has also been used by the Ministry of Agriculture to secure seeds such as the cotton and peanuts.
During the month of March 2022 CARDI Representative Mr. Paul Lucas trained a number of persons from the Ministry of Agriculture. The implementation of this training followed discussions with the Permanent Secretary Mr. Colin O’keiffe and the Heads of the divisions. The objective of this training was to strengthen collaboration and build the capacity of personnel within the sector.
From 7th March to 11th March 2022. List of trainees:
- Mr Grantley Bryne (Cotton Division)
- Mr Antonio Thomas (Cotton Division)
- Mr Tony Williams (Green Castle Agricultural Station)
- Mr Jahmari Thomas (Green Castle Agricultural Station)
- Mrs Shyenn Smith (Christian Valley)
- Ms Christine Blackstock (Christian Valley Agricultural Station)
- Mr Anderson Elvin (Christian Valley Agricultural)
- Mr Gamarl Martin (Cades Bay Pineapple Station)
- Mr Kelly O’Marde (Cades Bay Pineapple Station)
- (Ms Vanessa Prophet Cotton Station)
From 11th March to 18th March 2022 (Administrative Staff Members)
- Mrs Matthias Thomas
- Ms Natasha Mascoll
- Ms Sherece Roberts
- Ms Ingrid Shaw
Farmers and Stakeholders
In 2022 the collaboration with farmers and CARDI unit has been ongoing because of the high demand for planting material, seeds and produce which exists in Antigua and Barbuda. Furthermore the demand for seeds also exists regionally and internationally. At the moment CARDI is in the process of replenishing its inventory of seeds; maintained at its seedbank. Despite the increased cost of inputs CARDI Antigua and Barbuda has maintained the prices for the seeds generated at the unit to support farmers and entrepreneurs. Additionally, the unit continues to provide clean healthy planting material for the local farming community. Over 170 persons have visited the unit since the beginning of the year to gain the support of CARDI for various initiatives.
Recent Pictures on CARDI activities
All Saints Secondary School Students visit CARDI
On Monday 3rd October 2022, fourth and fifth form students from the All Saints Secondary School visited the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute located at Betty’s Hope, Antigua and Barbuda. At CARDI, they were given a tour of the research station, shown seed production and management, collected cuttings from five sweet potato varieties and collected mulberry planting material. The team at CARDI shared valuable information pertaining to their work program and encouraged the students to apply themselves to agriculture as it remains a vital sector for the nation and the Caribbean.
The group of twenty students, accompanied by five teachers, asked lots of questions because they were intrigued by the information presented. Overall, there was significant interest in the operations at CARDI by both males and females; males comprised the majority of the students however there were more female teachers in attendance.
CARDI, has an opened door policy and invites members of the general public with an interest in agriculture and agro-processing to pay them a visit. At the moment CARDI has a notable sweet potato germplasm which consists of 15 varieties and a seedbank which has seeds such as hot pepper, pumpkin, table squash and corn.
The Institution recently harvested corn and established a plot of Moruga Red hot pepper for the production of seeds. Sweet potato, cassava and pumpkin are some other crops which are also well established at the unit.
CARDI continues to support a range of stakeholders through their efforts at the Antigua and Barbuda unit.