The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) will welcome specially invited participants to a one day workshop on Wednesday May 29th 2019 at the Orchid Room in Union, St Lucia. The workshop will examine the market trends in St Lucia linked to Climate changes such as rainfall patterns and temperatures. Facilitators will then attempt to work with farmers to teach them about crop scheduling to meet these market demands, and avoiding surplus.
“In the Caribbean, we are exposed to changes in the weather and climate,” a statement from CARDI St Lucia read. “As Small Island Developing States we contribute minimally to Climate Change yet suffer tremendous effects from the phenomenon. Our agricultural sector is very much affected by Climate Change. With the approaching Hurricane and Wet Season, rainfall and wind effects are likely to affect our farmers’ crops and production levels. Similarly, we are now exiting the dry season where many local farmers in St Lucia will report loss in yield as a result of some of the hottest and driest conditions occurring between March to May.”
The statement continued, “With the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria to our neighbouring Caribbean islands in 2017 and the effects suffered by the Banana Industry by Tropical Storm Kirk in St. Lucia in 2017, we must begin to change our practices. Understanding the changes from weather and climate and the markets, will allow farmers to schedule their crop production thereby effectively managing the market supplies and demands.”
The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute exists to help farmers and the agricultural sectors across CARICOM strengthen its capacity to improve on agricultural outputs through substantive research findings. This includes technologies to improve practices. St Lucia is presently the pilot country for a project aimed at using information and Communications Technologies as a tool towards achieving Climate Smart Agriculture. This project is funded by the Japan-CARICOM Friendship and Cooperation Fund.
Apart from the workshop described, CARDI will be visiting farmers island wide to gather information on agronomic practices and uses of technologies in farming.
“From this project we hope to address problems faced by farmers through the introduction of appropriate ICTs,” the statement concluded. “This includes addressing the issues popularly reported by farmers pertaining to crop scheduling and markets as it relates to climate change.
This is the first workshop under this project and it is the hope of organisers to strengthen capacity within the agricultural sector in St Lucia by addressing two of the major concerns: markets and scheduling. The workshop will be facilitated by Dr GovindSeepersad, Dr Dave Goorahoo, as well as members of the consultant team on the project.