Present status of the Anthurium industry in the Caribbean

Acreage, production system and profitability

Cultivation continues to be carried out under shade houses, on coconut husk beds and overhead irrigation. Currently, in Trinidad, approximately 10 hectares of anthurium are cultivated intensively, producing about two million cut-flowers annually and generating about US $750,000 in foreign capital. Only about five large farms are still operational. According to the manager of the largest anthurium farm in Trinidad, estimated profits can be as high as 20- 30%. The industry has been partially revived in Jamaica and production is maintained at a low level. Other emerging anthurium exporters from the Caribbean are Dominican Republic, St. Vincent, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Barbados. 

Research Innovations

Research at the University of the West Indies, during the past decade, has addressed several problems associated with anthurium cultivation.  Developments have been made in the area of the pathology of the diseases, genetics of resistance to diseases, screening methods to identify resistance to the diseases, understanding the molecular biology and genetics of spathe colour, physiology of the vaselife of cut-flowers and post-harvest management of cut-flowers. Some research has also been done towards developing optimized tropical growing conditions, but more needs to be done.

Technology development

The University of the West Indies has also developed optimised protocols for the micropropagation and transformation of anthurium, which allows the development of transgenics.  This along with the development of commercial micropropagation laboratories around the region has resulted in the reduction of the cost of propagules to farmers.  Further, the University of the West Indies in collaboration with Kairi Cut-flowers Ltd has developed a breeding programme, which has begun to produce elite varieties that combine resistance to the diseases with good horticultural traits.


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