JIS News

A sum of $4.6 million has been allocated in the 2006/07 Estimates of Expenditure, to field and horticultural crops, under Crop Research and Development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Land.
The project, which provides funding for research leading to improvement in the quality and productivity of a variety of plants and crops, currently has three sub-projects. These include: Field Crops, which is to receive $630,000; Roots and Tubers, which is to receive $760,000 and Orchard and Horticultural Crops, which will benefit from the major share of the financing in the sum of $3.23 million.
The Field Crops component aims to improve the yields of melon, legumes, herbs, spices, tomato and sorrel, while research activity in the Roots and Tubers sub-project relates to germ-plasm maintenance and production technologies for cassava, sweet potato and yam. The Orchard and Horticultural Crops sub-project aims to develop and improve varieties of orchard and horticultural crops as well as pumpkin, scotch bonnet pepper, papaya and lychee.
In the meantime, the Plant Research and Protection sub-programme of the Ministry’s overall research and development programme is to receive $3.5 million, as set out in the Estimates, which are now before the House of Representatives. The project includes research activities into pests and other diseases that affect crops and apiculture.
The two sub-projects of the programme are Plant Protection and Beekeeping. The former will receive $1.901 million of the total sum. Elements of this project include entomology, nematode control, plant pathology and weed science. The funds for the Beekeeping project will allow for the provision of extension services to beekeepers and the monitoring and inspection of apiaries for the American foul brood disease and the Varroa mite.
Meanwhile, phytosanitary research is to receive $1.5 million. The project is aimed at screening high and medium risk plant germ-plasm obtained for agricultural production or for research purposes in order to prevent the introduction and spread of new pests in the island’s agricultural system. Emphasis will be on: maintaining a repository for disease-free citrus cones/germ-plasm produced locally and imported; and screening imported plant material for commercial or research purposes, for the presence of pests not known to occur in the island.