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Agriculture in Focus: Strengthening Capacity, Managing Risks

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Saint Lucia, will welcome specially invited participants to a one day workshop aimed at strengthening capacity in the agricultural sector in Saint Lucia through the examination of market trends linked to climate change, such as rainfall patterns and temperatures.

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, scheduled to be held on Wednesday May 29th 2019 at the Orchid Room in Union, Castries, Saint Lucia, will work 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 will be facilitated by Dr. GovindSeepersad, 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.

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