(PRESS RELEASE) – Some 110 banana farmers were the beneficiaries from two special workshops organized and conducted by the Taiwan Technical Mission in collaboration with the Banana Productivity Improvement Project (BPIP) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives.
The workshops, held at the Union Demonstration Farm and the Orchid Garden conference room on September 14 and 21, were designed to expose banana farmers to a new banana variety introduced to Saint Lucia by the Taiwan Technical Mission.
The ‘Tai-Chiao No.2’ as it is called, is an initiative to further improve banana production in Saint Lucia.
The BPIP, in conjunction with the Taiwan Technical Mission embarked on a trial with the new variety of banana plants believed to be better suited to withstand strong winds and adapted to climate change. In late 2018 the Taiwan Technical Mission imported the ‘Tai-Chiao No.2’ tissue cultured plants from Taiwan. Over the past twenty months, these plants have acclimatized and continued to grow in Agricultural Region 2, Region 3, Region 4, Region 5, Region 7, and Region 8, in total of 7 trial plots. In June 2019, a demonstration plot with both plants of ‘Tai-Chiao No.2’ and ‘Valery’ was established at Union. After completion of surveys, the results reveal that this new variety is shorter height, less prone to wind damage, and produce fruits faster.
During the workshop farmers were able to see the differences and similarities between the local ‘Valery’ and the ‘Tai-Chiao No.2’ varieties. In addition, a sensory analysis of the fruits from both varieties was conducted. Farmers were provided the opportunity to compare the fruits of the two varieties and determine whether the fruits could be differentiated. Afterwards, the farmers were asked to cast a vote on their likeliness to purchase and preference.
The BPIP has embarked on the procurement of 20,000 tissue culture ‘Tai-Chiao No.2’ to be made available for sale to farmers interested in replanting their fields with the new variety. This new variety of banana can aid farmers in the improvement of productivity on their farms as well as aid farmers in making their farms more sustainable.
The workshops were facilitated by Taiwan Technical Mission Agriculture Specialist Mr. Johnson Wu and the BPIP technical staff. The Taiwan Technical Mission, through the BPIP continues to work with and support Saint Lucian farmers.