The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) project hit a milestone with the first-time export of vetiver grass from Dominica to Antigua and Barbuda.
The project, “Strengthening Coastal and Marine Climate Resilience through Upland and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Adaptation and Community Engagement”, is supporting climate change adaptation and poverty alleviation in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. It is funded under the CBF EbA Facility, financed by the Government of Germany, German Development Bank (KfW) with resources from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
Vetiver is seen as a green engineering solution to climate change. It is typical to Dominica, with farmers maintaining hedgerows in their fields, communities and around their homes to control water flow and soil erosion. One such farmer, Anthony Lucien of the Kalinago Territory sees vetiver as an inseparable part of Kalinago agriculture and culture.
“We need to keep our culture alive and, as a farmer, I am playing my part in growing the raw materials that my grandfather, father and people in my community still use to weave the baskets, mats and other crafts,” Lucien said.
Selected to supply the vetiver grass slips to Antigua and Barbuda, he is proud to be part of this historical moment and project milestone.
Antigua and Barbuda have no significant sources of vetiver, hence the supply from Dominica. Under the project, the IICA Delegations and Ministries of Agriculture Plant Protection Units in Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica coordinated a process to complete a Pest Risk Assessment (PRA), a first for the Region.
Kent Coipel of IICA Dominica, coordinated the process of identifying and preparing the grass for export. The project provided Mr. Lucien with approved chemicals and safety wear for in-field treatment of plants and post-harvest treatment of clumps and slips, a first for Dominica.