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Abstract

An assessment of the heliconia industry in the Caribbean was obtained through a survey of the major growers in Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago using a pre-tested questionnaire. The objective of the survey was to establish the status of the industry and to identify technological approaches used in production and postharvest management. Approximately 90% of the growers surveyed cultivated less than one acre, the remaining 10% cultivated from 5 to 30 acres. The low levels of fertilizers and pesticides used by the smaller growers were associated with lower yields and lower quality blooms which were sold mainly on the local market. Larger growers used a higher level of technological inputs and were involved in the export trade mainly to Canada, USA and Europe. Among the major problems which limit the marketability of this species are short shelf life of some varieties and generally low tolerance of blooms to cold temperatures during transport from grower to market. The problems and prospects for the export industry for heliconias in the Caribbean are examined.

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