In Antigua and Barbuda, CARDI has continued its seed production, management and quality assurance program in support of agriculture within the country and the wider Caribbean.
Despite the challenges of the prolonged drought and the COVID pandemic, the unit led by CARDI Representative Paul Lucas continues to produce hot pepper, corn, pumpkin and table squash seeds.
Seeds produced at CARDI are stored at the seed bank located at the field station at Betty’s Hope, Saint Peter.
This rigorous seed program continues to be a critical aspect of genetic conservation, capacity building and improved climate resilience within the region.
The theory of climate change suggests shifts in both baseline climatic conditions and variability of climatic conditions as experienced this year.
CARDI’s response, to the threats of climate change, includes: germplasm maintenance, improved agricultural techniques, research and innovative technology.
CARDI provides quality seeds, healthy vegetative planting material (sweet potato, cassava, drought tolerant forages) and technical support within the sector, partnering with a number of key stakeholders.
Apart from working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, CARDI also collaborates with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Prison Farmers, the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF), various farmer groups, farmers and Non-Governmental Organizations.
CARDI Representative Paul Lucas continues to be actively engaged in several national committees which promote the advancement of agriculture in Antigua and Barbuda.
The CARDI Representative contributes through his participation on these committees, his technical expertise and guidance.
As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, the unit has experienced a dramatic increase in the demand for its high quality seeds across the region and thus there is an urgent need to continue to expand the seed program in support of national and regional agriculture amidst the uncertainty of 2020 and beyond.