January 24, 2014
Local tissue culture lab counting regional success

The establishment of a tissue culture laboratory here in St Vincent and the Grenadines to service the OECS and wider Caribbean is beginning to bear fruit.{{more}}

The lab was constructed under a Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI/CFC) project for micro-propagating, multiplying and distributing new high yielding root and tuber crop plant material (sweet potato, cassava, dasheen, yam).

Plantlets of sweet potato, cassava and dasheen have been successfully distributed to other OECS countries, as well as to Barbados and Jamaica. However some countries have had difficulties in weaning and hardening the cassava plantlets. Due to the high failure (death) rates experienced in Grenada and St Lucia when receiving, weaning and hardening cassava plantlets, CARDI sought and obtained technical assistance from the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines through Mr Rohan Mc Donald, biotechnologist at the laboratory in SVG.

To transfer the success from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr Mc Donald is scheduled to visit Grenada and St Lucia to train their local Ministry of Agriculture and CARDI staff in all aspects of weaning and hardening root and tuber crops tissue culture plantlets.

CARDI, through projects funded by the CARICOM/Japan Fund and the IICA-CARDI Technical Cooperation Agreement, has provided the Vincentian laboratory with funding (US$ 18,551.00) for micro-propagating sweet potato, cassava and dasheen plantlets. The laboratory receives technical support in disease diagnostics from the CARDI laboratory in Barbados.

The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Minister Saboto Caesar, has pledged support to CARDI in this endeavour.