Saint Lucia is presently the pilot country for a project funded by the Japan-CARICOM Friendship and Cooperation Fund, which is aimed at using Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) as a tool towards achieving Climate Smart Agriculture.
The workshop, held on Wednesday May 29th 2019 at the Orchid Room in Union, Castries, Saint Lucia worked with farmers in an effort to teach them about crop scheduling to meet market demands and to avoid surplus and scarcity.
As Small Island Developing States (SIDS) we contribute minimally to climate change yet suffer tremendous effects from the phenomenon. Our agricultural sector is severely affected by these changes in the environment, and with the approaching hurricane and wet season, rainfall and wind effects are likely to affect farmers’ crops and production levels. Similarly, exiting the dry season, many farmers report loss in yield as a result of some of the hottest and driest conditions occurring between March to May.
Given the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria to Caribbean islands in 2017, and the effects suffered by the Banana Industry following the passage of Tropical Storm Kirk in Saint Lucia in 2017, the need to change agricultural practices is apparent. Understanding the changes in weather and climate, and the markets, will allow farmers to schedule their crop production thereby effectively managing the market supplies and demands.
Agriculture Specialist at the OECS Commission, Mr. George Alcee, noted the importance of the workshop given CARDI’s role as the support institution responsible for research and development on the OECS Agriculture Advisory Committee.
“This workshop training for farmers, using Saint Lucia as the pilot, is consistent with the wider scope of work being pursued in developing a market intelligence/information system and building a climate resilient food and agriculture system.”
“The training in the use of climate and other decision-relevant information would minimise variability and ensure a greater level of sustainability on the supply side.”
The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Govind Seepersad, Dr. Dave Goorahoo, members of the consultant team on the project. CARDI will also be visiting farmers island-wide in Saint Lucia to gather information on agronomic practices and uses of technologies in farming.
About the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI):
CARDI was established in 1974 to serve the agricultural research and development needs of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). CARDI is positioned to contribute to the sustainable development of the Caribbean by the co-generation, diffusion and application of knowledge, through agricultural research for development. The Institute’s Headquarters is located at the University Campus, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.
About the Japan-CARICOM Friendship and Cooperation Fund (JCFCF):
The Friendship and Cooperation Fund has facilitated funding from the Japanese government to Caribbean Community Member States in a variety of areas including small and medium-sised enterprises, culture, agriculture, information technology, environment protection and participation in various trade fairs; and funding from the Japanese private sector in the areas of energy, the environment and tourism.