New varieties of citrus plants now available for purchase at Ministry of Agriculture Citrus Certification Facility
New varieties of citrus plants are reportedly now available for purchase at Ministry of Agriculture’s Citrus Certification Facility, located in the Botanic Gardens in Roseau. Officials say they are introducing a number of new varieties of citrus plants. Foreman at the Citrus Certification Facility, Steven Carbon said “We have about 7 new varieties of Navel oranges that will be introduced”. He added “Currently we have only three varieties which are the early navel orange, the normal season one which comes in November, and we have a later variety, which will enable the farmer to extend his harvesting period”.
Carbon also advised that three new Valencia varieties of oranges will be introduced, which, like the Navel oranges, are the early, mid-season and late varieties. The other varieties of orange plants available are pineapple orange and the amber sweet variety which is relatively new to Dominica. He added that although there are no new grapefruit varieties being introduced, the facility continues to produce plants for farmers and subsistent farmers.
Carbon said “One new variety of the limes that we are producing is the West Indian Lime; we have those without prickles and they are called Thornless limes. We also have new varieties of the tangerine and mandarin; we now have the honey tangerine and the sunburst variety as well. The new variety of mandarin is called the Ponkan mandarin. In addition, the Facility is introducing four new varieties of lemons; Lisbon, Seedless Lisbon, the Frost Eureka & the recently introduced Maya Lemon. Farmers can now order the varieties through extension officers.
“There is procedure that they would have to follow to purchase the plants, such as preparing their lands, and then come to the facility with a form to purchase from nine plants or more. Subsistent farmers can come to the facility and purchase 1 to 9 plants”, at $15.00 to subsistent farmers, and at $10.00 to commercial farmers.
Carbon believes the new varieties will increase the capacity of the farmers, giving them a more diverse product, not only for the Dominican market, but for the regional market. “Different varieties are for different purposes, some you can eat fresh, and some are for juice making and other products.”
Importantly, he noted that all the new varieties are resistant to the Tristeza Citrus disease which is the most economically damaging disease to its namesake plant. “You will have pest and disease free trees that will not be affected by the Tristeza virus,” Carbon assured. He added that the initiative will greatly boost the island’s citrus industry, and encourage farmers to purchase the plants.
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