Neem (Azadirachta indica Adr. Juss.) is planted in Haiti for its hardiness and multiple purposes of shade, medicinal uses, wood, aesthetics and pest control. A neem trial at Roche Blanche was established in October, 1991 as a collaborative effort of SECID/Auburn University, Agridyne (now Biosys) and Double Harvest. Fourteen seed sources of neem from Africa and the Caribbean were established in a randomized complete block design to examine differences in azairachtin production. Research was discontinued in 1991 when USAID suspended AFII activities, though Double Harvest continued to manage the trees. SECID/Auburn University resumed measuring the trial at 2, 3, and 5 years after trial establishment. This report summarizes the preliminary results of the trial 5 years after its establishment in 1991.
The Roche Blanche neem trial is unique for several important reasons. It is the first trial in Haiti designed to optimize the production of neem fruit rather than wood. Secondly, it is the only trial in Haiti designed to study the genetic variation of neem. Thirdly, the trial marks the first time that neem was introduced and propagated vegetatively in Haiti. This offers a practical alternative to seed as a means of introducing improved genetic material to Haiti.
The data reported here allow an assessment of the trees as a source of wood, but do not permit an assessment of the provenances as sources of the bio-insecticide, azadirachtin. Because of resource constraints, it was not possible to evaluate these neem provenances for fruit and azadirachtin yields within the time allocated for the termination of the Tree Improvement Program