Tag Archives: Variety development

What’s in a Variety

Every Barbadian has a preferred variety of something weather it is for Julie vs Imperial mangoes, a breadfruit from the right tree or the right kind of sweet potatoes.

What many people may not realise the the number of varieties that exist in all crops and the significance of differences between those varieties. In well established crops, specific varieties often have specific uses. For example,  potatoes come in three standard variety, Starchy – best for baking and frying, Waxy – best for casseroles and potato salads and All Purpose – your jack of all trades, master of none.

Each of those broad categories is then broken up into individual varieties.  Each of these specific varieties has individual characteristics which add value.  For the farmer it might be disease resistance and yield potential, for the supermarket – shelf life and for the consumer – flavour and appearance.  These characteristics, this distinctness, allows for some varieties to be valued much higher than others. In fact, there is a potato variety grown in France, call La Bonnette, which can be sold for up to $300 USD/lb.

In Barbados we have numerous varieties of sweet potato grown, these include Caroline Lea, Red Man and CBS49, the latter a truly local variety bred and developed in Barbados. While research has been done on their cooking and processing properties it is a drop in the bucket compared to the work that has been done on more well established crops.

A first step in establishing value for these varieties  would be to enable the consumers to easily identify their prefered varieties.  This would allow consumers to learn which varieties are best for the their purposes.

I believe, that if developed and marketed properly its possible that we could one day see a sweet potato variety that is also sold for $300 USD a pound.

An update on the propagation of Heliconias from seed

Jeff St.A. Chandler and Louis E. Chinnery for the 7th Annual Conference of the BSTA, 1989

The dynamic nature of the International Flower Market demands that new introductions enter the market place from time to time. This is to satisfy the need for something different, be it in form or colour. The creation of new variation in existing species would maintain florists’ enthusiasm and excitement and would enhance their creative skills at satisfying the all important consumer.

An update on the propagation of Heliconias from seed pdf

BSTA Conference 2015 – Sweet Potato Processing

The first presentation entitled “Sweet Potato Processing” was delivered by Mr. Richard Armstrong of ARMAG Farms, St. Philip, Barbados. In his presentation, Mr. Armstrong gave an overview of his sweet potato processing plant where healthy fries are produced. He also gave an indication of the challenges currently being faced in this innovative operation in Barbados.

Sweet Potato Processing – Richard Armstrong