Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis, 7 November 2022- Thirty-five farmers will benefit from a series of trainings on sustainable agricultural practices, including the use of renewable energy technology in agricultural production and the improved management of water resources, thanks to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Government of Mexico and the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Launched in Saint Kitts on 25 October and in Nevis on 26October, the training series is part of the ‘Addressing the Water-Energy Nexus in Agriculture’ sub-project of the Mexico-CARICOM-FAO Initiative “Cooperation for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in the Caribbean” or Resilient Caribbean Initiative in short. The aim of the sub-project is to increase agricultural productivity and improve water-resource efficiency through the promotion of technological innovations,such as solar-powered (micro) irrigation systems in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The project will provide farmers with solar powered drip irrigation and water harvesting and storage systems to increase both crop and water productivity. It is expected that these improvements will result in increased income as well. To prepare farmers to use and manage these climate-resilient solutions, training on sustainable agricultural practices is beingconducted over a five-week period concluding at the end of November and consisting of four modules: Water Resource Management; Efficient Irrigation; Protected Agriculture and Climate Change, and Conservation Agriculture. The final session will take the form of a field tour to highlight and demonstrate practical aspects of information shared in the modules.
During the opening ceremony in Nevis, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Huey Sargeant shared “As an advocate for the use and application of technology in agriculture that allows us to work smarter to achieve food security, I strongly encourage farmers to take advantage of this training opportunity being offered by FAO and the Government of Mexico through the Resilient Caribbean Initiative.”
Addressing improved water management in farming systems is crucial in vulnerable countries, such as Small Island Development States (SIDS). Being on the front lines of climate change, SIDS are experiencing its intensifying impacts, such as increased frequency and severity of droughts, which results in decreased freshwater quantity and quality. This, along with inefficiencies in the use of water poses several threats to agricultural production, which is in strong competition with other sectors for water resources. The Resilient Caribbean Initiative, funded by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) and Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) is being implemented by FAO in 14 CARICOM countries. Its main goal is to support countries in the region to address global shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. Issues of water resource management are targeted using an integrated Water-Energy-Food nexus approach in Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and Saint Kitts and Nevis. This series of trainings forms part of the project’s capacity building activities aimed at equipping farmers with the tools needed to ensure food systems in these four countries are climate resilient.
FAO’s National Project Coordinator, Conrad Kelly highlights “Most of the farmers do not have irrigation on their farms presently, this training in sustainable agricultural practices along with the investment in solar powered drip irrigation systems, to be installed, is timely, and will equip and enablebeneficiary farmers to improve the efficiency and productivity of food crop production.”
Workshop participant and farmer Paulet Jeffers remarked on the outcome of the first training session: “As I do not yet have irrigation and water harvesting on my farm, I am learning a lot and intend to put what I learn into practice when the projectinstalls the drip irrigation system on the farm.”
For more information:
Project: GCP/SLC/MEX/018 CARICOM-FAO-Mexico Initiative “Cooperation for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in the Caribbean”