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First shipment of high quality butternut squash exported

First shipment of high quality butternut squash exported

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Several thousand pounds of top quality butternut squash have been reaped, and of these, several boxes of the commodity have been exported to Barbados.

The first shipment of butternut squash left St Vincent on Sunday, three months after the first set of farmers received seeds from the Ministry of Agriculture.{{more}}

The fruit is being planted here as part of a partnership between the Ministry of Agriculture and WINFRESH to diversify around bananas.

At a press conference in September when the commencement of the butternut squash programme was announced, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar said: “Firstly, this thrust is targeting and has as a key objective to reduce the imports of butternut squash into St Vincent and the Grenadines. It is one thing to have an export strategy and that export strategy is one that we are going forward with, but we also have to take into consideration that we have to produce more and we have to consume more of what we produce. Therefore, the first objective is to reduce the imports of butternut squash into St Vincent and the Grenadines when we increase our local production,” he said.

According to the Minister, 20 acres of land and 15 farmers were earmarked to start the programme.

Caesar added that it is the intention that the export of butternut squash be an ongoing occurrence, which will take place every week, once export is started.

Philbert Gould, officer responsible for vegetable production in Ministry, stated at the press conference in September that the temperature and land in St Vincent is ideal for the cultivation of butternut squash.

He also noted that the crop takes about three months to mature and that he does not foresee farmers meeting much difficulty.

Farmers are being assisted with the provision of seeds, fertilizer and technical assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Although butternut squash is a fruit, it is used as a vegetable that can be roasted, toasted, pureed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads and muffins. In Australia, it is regarded as a pumpkin and used interchangeably with other types of pumpkin.

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