The overall goal of the project was to support the development of a commercially viable and sustainable regional root and tuber crop industry in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries in order to lead to tangible improvement of livelihoods and contribute to overall food security and food sovereignty. The project purpose was to develop Caribbean root and tuber commodity value chains in several pilot areas that can serve as models for implementation elsewhere in the region. The project sought to alleviate identified key constraints along the value chain of each crop and explore market opportunities.
Interventions addressed production issues as a means of satisfying the market demand for quality and quantity as well as consequential marketing shortcomings and new opportunities. The project started in late 2010 and was identified as a priority project of the EU-AAACP Commodities Programme for the Caribbean, and completed its activities in December 2013.
As a main project result, a functioning interconnected network of plant multiplication and hardening facilities has been established that now enables Caribbean islands to multiply high quality and disease free planting material for various roots and tubers on a sustainable basis. The network consists of eight propagation facilities and four hardening facilities, two germplasm banks, two tissue culture laboratories and one fully equipped virus testing laboratory, which are today operational for cassava, sweet potato and yam planting material propagation for the whole Caribbean. In all project countries yields of root and tuber crops are observed to increase between 20 and 100% when using improved (virus free) planting material. Alongside the core activity of establishing the infrastructure and providing capacity for the multiplication facilities, punctual interventions were made along identified roots and tuber value chains that have led to market access for various stakeholder groups and the development of new markets ranging from the hygienic production of traditional artisanal root and tuber products for the tourist market in Dominica to the introduction of roots and tubers into the school meal diet in Trinidad & Tobago.