I have in the past suggested on this blog that Dominica encourage pomegranate agriculture. The pomegranate is a seed-bearing orchard crop that is far less labor-intensive, has a long shelf-life, and has high market demand because pomegranate juice is not only good-tasting but also rich in healthful anti-oxidants â€“ and the world market demand for the juice could enable Dominica to reap second-stage value-add profits by processing the fruit into juice (which would then have an even longer shelf-life and reduced storage and transportation costs). In fact, were Dominica to have a sizable store of the juice â€“ a commodity in high demand â€“ it could store and release it in accordance with the greatest potential for profit, much as OPEC does with oil.
I have lamented the fact that bananas, Dominicaâ€™s principal export crop have so many disadvantages:
- Itâ€™s hard to make a living exporting or farming them without subsidies, and the subsidies have largely been eliminated and in any event would be fraught with political baggage,
- They have an extremely short shelf-life, necessitating rapid harvesting and fast, expensive refrigerated transport,
- Farming them is exceedingly labor-intensive,
- There is no possible value-upgrade local processing stage, and
- They are a seedless plant that can only be grown from cuttings â€“ making them genetically identical and thus prone to eradication by a single biological agent.
My research has led me to the Web site of David Ewing Duncan, which has this extremely interesting posting dated Thursday, July 05, 2007 on exactly where & when banana seeds originally came from, and on the dangers of depending on genetic identical crops, especially seedless ones. Itâ€™s worth reading – Saving the Bananas.
This post was guest blogged by Dan Tanner
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