Research Efforts Bearing Fruits

"Building Capacity in Germplasm Evaluation and Development in Mitigating the Impacts of Climate Change Events and Natural Disaster"  .


In April 2015, Agricultural Technician Trevorne Douglas travelled to Fiji on a short-term internship.  Mr. Douglas was accompanied by Aldaine Gordon from Jamaica and Ruthvin Harper of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The programme captioned ‘Building Capacity in germplasm evaluation and Development in Mitigating the Impacts of Climate Change Events and Natural Disaster’ was agreed to under a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute (CARDI) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).   The programme was funded under the 10th European Development Fund for Agriculture Policy Programme (APP) and was delivered under the Applied Research component.  The eight week internship was organised to deliver training to Caribbean agricultural technicians in the specific areas of germplasm development and screening.  The exploratory work was conducted on dasheen. 

The broad objective of the internship, which was in line with those of APP was stated as:

To contribute to enhance regional (Caribbean and Pacific) and inter-regional capabilities of the agricultural sector in eradicating poverty.

The specific goals to be achieved under the internship were:

·         To learn about the scope of activities of the SPC Land Resources Division in line with agricultural development and facilitating trade and market access.

·         To become familiar with different evaluation methods (tissue culture, screen house and breeding) for evaluating crop for tolerance to different climate factors.

·         To learn, through field visits and interactions with project partners, about areas that link to agricultural development in the Pacific, and envision how that knowledge can be adapted to fit the Caribbean region.


Upon his return to Dominica, Mr. Douglas embarked on a project to collect different varieties of dasheen from across the island and established a trial plot at the La Plaine Agricultural station.  All the eighteen (18) varieties collected were planted under the same field conditions and the data was collected during the growing cycle and post harvest.  A data set of characteristic identification markers for the different varieties now exist.  The final stage of the data collection re dasheen was a taste test that was conducted, using all the varieties.


Sweet Potato

Three new varieties of sweet potato were brought in as part of the germplasm exchange initiative.  There are IB/JP/01 Okinawa Purple from Japan, IB/PR/17 Salyboro Yellow from Peru and IB/SI/34 WVR Orange from the Solomon Islands.

The tissue culture plants were weaned, hardened and planted at the Portsmouth Agricultural Station with support from the Chinese Agricultural Technical Mission.  The crop has been harvested and taste  testing conducted on the varieties. Coloured flesh sweet potato varieties are known to have high levels of vitamins (carotenoids, flavonoids) and anti-oxidants.



Under the exchange programme, Dominica is actively seeking to identify its landrance varieties of yellow flesh tannia (Xanthosoma sagittifollium) for storage at the SPC’s repository. The SPC repository is reputed to house the largest in vitro aroid germplasm. So far, two varieties have been identified.

click on the following for: photos of the activity

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