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Abstract

In June 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the University of the West, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados conducted a sweet potato trial using thirty-two varieties with the objectives being to examine some physical traits of available cultivars in the gene bank, analyse the sugar content, as well as to produce a farmer’s guide for market selection of sweet potato cultivars in Barbados. The study took note of the following parameters: tuber length, tuber diameter, skin and flesh colour, shape, average tuber number and tuber yield or mass or tubers weight. Statistical analysis showed that the average number of tubers, average length of tubers, and tuber diameters of the varieties followed a normal distribution, and revealed the levels of variation among these parameters. Interestingly, the yield of tubers and the size of these sweet potato did not follow a normal distribution. Results from the sugar analysis showed that varieties with orange and creamy flesh colours contained a higher percentage of sugars (15-16%) compared to the white-flesh coloured varieties with 11-12%. A draft farmer’s selection chart was produced for easy identification of eight widely used varieties found in Barbados using both morphological and biochemical characteristics.

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