Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 04, 2023 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Agriculture is working with crop producers to help mitigate the challenges posed by lower rainfall levels as St. Kitts and Nevis continues to grapple with the effects of climate change.
Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Samal Douglas, said that several initiatives are being implemented to help farmers conserve and efficiently use water as the ministry carefully balances the need to provide water for residential, industrial and agricultural use.
“In the short term, what we want to do is work on the provision of water tanks and water harvesting features for our farmers so that way they can harvest water on their land and store it,” Minister Duggins stated on the most recent edition of the radio and television programme InFocus.
He noted that drip irrigation techniques are being encouraged as well as acquiring ground covering that traps moisture, thereby increasing the hydration level of crops.
“It’s really about preserving the water by controlling the use of the water, making sure that you can use just what you need, minimize wastage, and harvest water on site, which in turn reduces the demand on the national [water supply],” Honourable Duggins added.
Another measure being considered in the long term is the use of water from brackish wells that are currently not used for domestic supply. The salinity of the water does not meet international standards for potable water but is safe for crop production. The Minister of Agriculture said that discussions with the Water Services Department on this matter are progressing.
“I believe that by 2024, we should see the Ministry of Agriculture being able to tap into some of these wells to provide water to farms that [previously] would not have had access to constant running water,” Minister Duggins added.