The Barbados based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says that it is in full support of a sweet potato value chain project that will serve to enhance food security and agricultural productivity across the Caribbean region.
In order to promote the project that seeks to improve the production, processing and marketing of sweet potato, a grant of US$600,000-grant from the CDB to the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) will fund the research and capacity building initiative.
With the estimated total cost of the project set to be US$810,000, CDB’s funding will cover 74 per cent of that amount with CARDI providing counterpart funding for the remainder.
The project involves market research, including value chain analysis to gauge levels of consumer demand, potential areas for investment and defining the existing gaps in the market.
Field research will validate climate-resilient varieties and genotypes, including strains that are high yielding, drought tolerant, disease resistant, and suitable for processing.
According to the CDB, videos and infographics will be made available on the market and value chain and field research.
Targeting farmers and other stakeholders along the sweet potato value chain, these aids will demonstrate best practices in sweet potato cultivation, processing and value-added product development.
In addition, an integral component of the project is the provision of training new technology for farmers, agro-processors, and other stakeholders.
Director of Projects at CDB, Daniel Best, said the project would help to break new ground for the sweet potato industry in the Caribbean.