BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, August 19, 2022 (MMS-SKN) — The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), St. Kitts and Nevis office, and the Technical Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Kitts and Nevis have collaborated to assist farmers in creating high quality compost in an effort to reduce fertiliser cost.
Farmers in St. Kitts and Nevis, on Wednesday August 17, virtually participated in a Caribbean Climate Responsive Forum (CCRAF) web conferencing (webinar) forum from two locations, the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CUNA) Conference Centre in Fortlands, West Basseterre, and Red Cross Conference Centre in Charlestown.
“This year IICA is collaborating with the Taiwan Mission to provide a physical space where they could listen, learn, share and interact with each other,” said IICA Technical Specialist, Ms Sharon Jones, who moderated the St. Kitts site. “We had 34 participants that were at location in St. Kitts, and 29 participants at location in Nevis, and then another 12 participants that were online for St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The video-conference, which was moderated by Dominica-based IICA’s Technical Specialist in Water and Soil, Mrs Nekelia Gregoire Carai, was on Techniques for Creating High Quality Compost in an Effort to Reduce Fertilizer Cost.
It was held in two parts, where Agriculture Specialist, Jamaica Social Investment Fund, Mr Bryan Smith dwelt on Principles of Composting, while Co-Founder of Inipsis Ltd. Mr Mario Lewis of Trinidad and Tobago spoke on ‘food waste recycling methods and technologies for households’.
“It is really geared to allow the Caribbean people to be able to share their experiences and to learn from each other so that we can learn what is happening in Dominica, Dominica can learn what is happening in St. Kitts and Nevis because we really and honestly we don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” said Ms Jones. “We had a total of 334 participants in the CARICOM region.”
Project Specialist at the Enhancing Agriculture Adaptive Capacity to Climate Variability Project of the Taiwanese Technical Mission to St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr Andy Chiu, said that they were equally happy to partner with IICA.
“After we received the invite from IICA, we felt this is a really good workshop,” said Mr Chiu. “I know that there are a lot of farmers who are not able to attend because maybe they are not familiar with the computer, or something like that. So we decided to co-operate with IICA to host this workshop and extend knowledge on agriculture more and more, because IICA invites a lot of experts for specific topics in the area of agriculture, and I hope that everyone can learn a lot through this workshop.”
There were 29 participants at the workshop location in Nevis which was moderated by Mr Kai Yu Huang, Project Specialist, with the Enhancing Agricultural Adaptive Capacity to Climate Variability Project of the Technical Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture in the Nevis Island Administration, Mr Steve Junior Reid, of the participants in Nevis, said that most of the participants were backyard gardeners. Along with him were another five Ministry of Agriculture Extension Officers.
Farm Manager at the Gideon Force Organic Farm in Old Road, Mr T-Sean ‘Ras Bora’ Flemming, who attended the workshop in St. Kitts, while thanking IICA and the Taiwanese Technical Mission for giving farmers the opportunity to learn better methods of compositing, said that organic farming and compositing are among their strengths.
“Compositing is a joy to build, sometimes a little bit challenging but it is a joy to see the material used in compositing coming to something,” noted Mr Flemming. “I hope that the other farmers who have never had the experience of doing composting, will find what they learnt here to be useful. It was a good experience and the presenters gave us some good information which was simple to understand as they did not use big words and it was definitely a good experience for me.”
Also among the farmers in attendance in St. Kitts were members of the St. Kitts Association of Backyard Gardeners (SKABG). The association’s Public Relations Officer, Ms Relda Warner, said that the workshop was very useful because she and other members do composting. The association which has about 60 members was represented by a number of their members.
“It taught me more, for me to do compositing better,” said Ms Warner. “On behalf of the St. Kitts Association of Backyard Gardeners, I wish to thank IICA and the Taiwanese Mission in St. Kitts for inviting us to the workshop as it was very informative.”
According to IICA Technical Specialist, Ms Sharon Jones, the Caribbean Climate Responsive Forum (CCRAF), once called the Caribbean Climate Smart Agriculture (CCSA) Forum, was established by IICA in 2015. The purpose of the forum is bringing together actors in the agriculture and related sectors to learn from each other’s experiences and exchange information on agriculture and climate change in the Caribbean.
“This forum has since 2015 remained active and has enabled discussions on Region’s most pressing challenges, highlighting and allowing the sharing of potential solutions, from national perspective and a regional outlook,” said Ms Jones. “This forum allows for a regional ‘meeting of minds’. Through this forum, IICA has shared with the region, its projects and actions, addressing climate change, implemented member states. The next meeting will be CCRAF Part 2/3 Efficient low-cost Irrigation and Water Saving Techniques for Increasing Crop Production, to be held on September 14, 2022, at 10:00 a.m.”