UNDER the programme, the Department of Agriculture, through CARDI, purchased 5,000 sprouted coconuts and seed nuts at $2 per nut and resold to farmers at a subsidized price of $1.
Deputy Director of Agricultural Services, Barry Innocent, said the first phase of the programme was executed successfully. The project met its target to locally collect and conduct early sprouting, and to redistribute local coconut planting material to 80 growers.
The agriculture ministry then decided to go through a second phase of the programme as a pre-emptive measure to stem a regional contagion.
Pending the threat of lethal yellowing, a disease that affects palms and was identified in Antigua and Jamaica, phase two of the project ensued where 5,000 invitro coconut planting materials were purchased from Mexico.
Another 2,050 extra plantlets were freely given due to expected losses usually accounted for in the acclimatization process. About 18.5 percent of these plants died leaving behind over 5,700 thriving plants.