Saint Lucia: The Agriculture, Fisheries, Food Security and Rural Development Ministry, along with the World University Services of Canada (Caribbean), recently kicked off a series of training on the Role of Vegetable Grafting in Climate Smart Agriculture Strategies.
The training informed about the process of grafting, which helps in increasing the productivity of certain horticultural crops because they make “varieties or cultivars” possible. An older established orchard of fruiting trees may become obsolete as newer varieties or cultivars are developed.
This intervention will facilitate a more reliable and consistent supply of produce to the market by building the capacity of participants in the grafting of vegetable seedlings. This technique can be utilized to produce disease-resistant planting material.
Region three farmers were presented with the benefits of growing grafted seedlings and got an opportunity to graft cucurbits, namely watermelon on, to squash rootstock.
Participants were also exposed to the possibilities of utilizing locally available, disease-resistant rootstock varieties in reducing the incidence of specific diseases which pose a challenge to manage.
Head of Extension for Region three, Hyacinth Ford, presented the history of grafting techniques as a key driver for increasing agricultural production for several years. Johnny Smith, Crop Protection Officer, keenly highlighted ongoing research efforts in building the resilience of planting material using grafting techniques.