Given the Government’s ’s failure to maintain the Cades Bay Pineapple Station, at least one private resident is trying to keep what is considered “the sweetest pineapple in the world”—the Antigua Black – on the market.
By calling the pineapple small and its taste watered down, Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently tried to defend the Ministry of Agriculture’s failure to maintain production at Cades Bay, which is now nothing more than a paddock.
However, one man and his small team of workers continue to plant and reap the fruit on a private farm in the Claremont area.
Algernon “Serpent” Watts, MP for the St. George constituency and the United Progressive Party’s spokesman on agriculture, recently visited Claremont Farm, where, he says, there are pineapples in various stages of growth as far as the eyes can see.
Watts refers to the efforts of the farmer and his team as “dedication” and commends them for preserving a small piece of Antigua and Barbuda.
In spite of the negative criticism of the iconic fruit by the Browne Administration, it is being successfully propagated at this location, MP Watts says.
Meanwhile, he notes that, at present, there is no Antigua Black pineapple on the market anywhere in the country. Hence, compared to what is happening at the Cades Bay Pineapple Station, he says the local farmer is doing a great service to the country by keeping the pineapple in existence.
Watts, who once operated a farm himself, says the Browne Administration has been paying mere lip service to agriculture while claiming that it is serious about food security.
However, he is pleased to know that Cades Bay can be turned around and become a productive pineapple farm again in about two years.
But, according to Watts, it will take significant desire, will, and the support of the Administration to get it right.
Meanwhile , PM Browne says he has considered replacing the Antigua Black with a variety of pineapple grown in Dominica.