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Climate Resilient Agriculture in Focus as Barbuda, Dominica Rebuild After Monster Hurricanes

HURRICANE MARIA CHOPPED THE TOPS OF TREES AND LEFT THEM BARE IN DOMINICA LAST MONTH. (PHOTO CREDIT: CARDI)

Executive Director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) Barton Clarke is confident that the agriculture sectors that were destroyed with the passage of back to back Category 5 hurricanes will rebound with the collective effort at resilient rebuilding.

But more work needs to be done and a greater slice of resources must be pumped into the region’s agriculture sector to make it more resilient, he said.

Speaking on the eve of a Ministerial Agriculture Meeting at the Georgetown-based CARICOM Secretariat, Clarke was optimistic that with initial steps being taken to focus on the short-term, the two islands that were hardest hit, Barbuda and Dominica, will bounce back.

Barbuda

Barbuda had significantly advanced its peanut production and was recently getting CARDI support for the industry, but the hurricane impaired its seed supplies for the upcoming crop. CARDI will screen and store supplies at its seed storage facility in Antigua, Clarke said.

Antigua and Barbuda had presented its vision for agriculture at the COTED Meeting. Barbuda has adopted a ‘green island concept’ with alternative energy, particularly solar and wind; organic agriculture and compliance with food safety requirements as the main features. Protected agriculture and specially designed smart greenhouses are the pillars on which resilience, readiness and sustainability will be built.

The concept also utilizes appropriate innovations and production technologies such as rational mechanization, selected germplasm, efficient use of water resources and intensive systems for small ruminants. The concept will ensure that zoning and land use practices will not compromise the integrity of the environment.

Dominica

Replanting of short-term crops such as lettuce, Chinese cabbage and ochro, for example, has begun in Dominica. Root crops, which made up a sizeable part of Dominica’s sector, can rebound “relatively quickly” as opposed to tree crops, he said and there could be a fast turnaround in the poultry sector, for example.

“…Once you can access the baby chicks, in six months’ time you have eggs…Tree crops you would have to get the trees in the ground and they will take a few years before they begin bearing. But In two years’ time we will be back to being a major supplier of food to the Caribbean,” Clarke said.

The CARDI head pointed to the necessity for climate-resilient agriculture in the Community. Antigua and Barbuda has already incorporated some of those elements – such as protected agriculture – in its green island concept.

According to Clarke, CARDI is looking at protected structures for crop production and getting the best types for the Caribbean.

He pointed, as an example, to livestock production systems where animals were now housed in pens rather than “running around”. The pens, he said, were modified so that they can withstand the increases in temperature. He said CARDI is considering the work done in countries such as Israel, the Dominican Republic and Barbados where animals are fed in protected housing which limits their exposure to the temperatures and increases their productivity.

“You see where they have introduced wind tunnel technology for poultry where we have poultry operating in essentially air conditioned environments where the temperature is regulated,” he explained.

He added that the systems have been extended into the crop arena as well. He pointed out that there was solar cooling technology to bring down the heat in the protected structures. CARDI is also collaborating with the University of the West Indies to look at cooling the structures.

“Then we have to look at drug and heat-tolerant varieties of plants; we’ve done some work on pigeon peas, corn, sweet potato, dasheen. A lot more of that work needs to be done; a lot more of resources need to be invested,” he said.

Credit: Caribbean 360

CARDI Review: Improving Lives Through Agricultural Research – Issue 14

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) has a new issue of CARDI Review. The new issue is the first of three issues which will appear in the next few months.

  • The first paper examines the issue of planting densities for hot pepper and arrives at the conclusion that yields could be increased by planting at higher intra-row densities.
  • The second paper showcases work which is being undertaken to mitigate against the effects of climate change, which already appears to be a factor that farmers have to contend with. Ten sweet potato cultivars and landraces were evaluated during the severe Trinidad dry season of 2014.

There were some clear conclusions as to the most drought tolerant: but results like this will, of course, need to be verified by further evaluations in different geographic environments. They also need to be repeated in other harsh climatic conditions before definite conclusions can be drawn. Nevertheless, much more is now known about the relative performance of the ten cultivars and landraces.

Peruse the CARDI Review: Improving Lives Through Agricultural Research

Caribbean and International Water and Funding Agencies Meet on a New Caribbean Climate-Proofing Water Investment Initiative

Over thirty (30) representatives from key regional and international water and finance institutions will meet in Barbados on April 9th and 10th, 2015 to help steer a new Caribbean Climate-Proofing Water Investment initiative spearheaded by the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) under its Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) executed in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

The two-day Consultation will provide the stakeholders with a thorough overview of the new initiative which includes the development of a Regional Caribbean Climate Resilience and Water Security Investment Plan (CReWSIP). This plan is aimed at providing a coordinated and programmatic approach to identifying, prioritising and sourcing finance for the work of regional agencies in enhancing the climate resilience of the Caribbean water sector.

The upcoming Stakeholder Consultation is a crucial step in the process to ensure that the CReWSIP responds to regional needs and will help regional institutions deliver their respective roles and mandates as they relate to water security. It provides the opportunity for regional institutions to elaborate on how the Investment Plan can support their work and to guide the process in the right direction. Additionally, it will allow development partners to define how CReWSIP could be used as a vehicle to channel resources into regional water security issues.

According to Dr. Natalie Boodram, Programme Manager of the GWP-C WACDEP, “Collaboration and coordination between regional stakeholders is essential for the Caribbean Climate Resilience and Water Security Investment Plan to deliver benefits on the ground.”

The Caribbean Climate-Proofing Water Investment Initiative is being funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and while GWP-C and the CCCCC are coordinating the development of the CCReWSIP, the resulting programmes and projects are anticipated to be implemented through regional institutions, with the support of development partners.

Some of the organisations that will be represented at the upcoming Meeting in Barbados include: the GWP-C, the CCCCC, the CDKN, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the European Union (EU), the Department for International Development (DFID), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association (CAWASA), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and other agencies.Download media release here.

Credit: Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C)
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