CARDI donation of seasoning peppers helps to feed the hungry
Since September 2015, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture (DOA) housed within the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands, has been producing seasoning pepper seeds. Bearing a close resemblance to the Scotch Bonnet, these peppers are flavourful and less pungent, making it a very popular condiment in Caymanian cuisine.
CARDI is responsible for stabilizing and purifying the seeds from the seasoning peppers that are grown at the Institute’s field station located on the DOA’s compound in Bodden Town.
Following careful selection, seeds are extracted and treated with disinfectant that is applied to reduce select virus particles. Seeds are then handed over to the Department of Agriculture for seedling production. These seedlings are sold to the public.
Between 2018-2019, CARDI supplied more than 850 grams of seeds to the Department of Agriculture for seedling production.
In April, CARDI started the extraction of seeds from the 2020 crop. For some of the fruits that did not meet the strict quality guidelines for seed production, CARDI Country Representative decided to make a donation to the Meals on Wheels charity. Over 10 lbs of season pepper berries were handed over to them on April 27, 2020 and will be used to prepare meals for seniors that are locked down at home during this COVID-19 crisis.
“We were happy to make this donation to the Meals on Wheels programme and it is something CARDI will try to continue to do in the future, for crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes.” Dr. Annika Minott – CARDI Representative, Cayman Islands.