Region focuses on climate smart agriculture

(Photo via BGIS)
(Photo via BGIS)

From September 14 to 15, technocrats, policy-makers and agricultural planners put their collective heads together to come up with suggestions as to how best to strengthen innovation agriculture systems to withstand the effects of natural or man-made disasters.

The officials, drawn from countries across the region, participated in panel discussions and other interactive sessions while attending the 11th Meeting of the Regional Planners’ Forum on Agriculture – Innovation Systems for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

During the opening ceremony, Programme Manager for Agriculture and Industry at the CARICOM Secretariat, Nisa Surujbally, reminded participants that Hurricane Irma, which swept through the Region as a category five hurricane, highlighted the need for smarter agricultural planning.

“Hurricane Irma underscores even more, the need for Climate Smart Agriculture to be a main component of agricultural planning and national disaster preparedness plans.  We have been working assiduously to mainstream climate change and disaster preparedness into the policy framework for the agricultural sector both nationally and regionally,” she pointed out.

Read more at: Barbados Government Information Service

Boosting cassava production to improve Region’s food security

new-cassava-grinder-fond-assau-agro-processing

“Cassava is the prioritized commodity for this project, and currently results in a two percent reduction on the food import bill within CARICOM.” Saint Lucia, as one of these CARICOM countries, must continue to contribute to the import bill’s further decline.” – Regional Project Coordinator for the FAO, Vermaran Extavour
Minister for Agriculture, Hon Ezechiel Joseph, has voiced continued support for Saint Lucia’s cassava industry as part of a wider plan to improve food security in the Caribbean region.

The minister’s comments were made earlier this year, at an inception workshop and cassava value chain cluster meeting, that was held to sensitise at least five important stakeholders—the Network of Rural Women Producers (Babonneau and Micoud Cluster), the Fond Assau Agro Processing Plant, the Bureau of Standards, the Development Bank and the Bakery Industry—of developments in the root and tuber crop (cassava) industry.

“This project came to fruition as a result of a request to the FAO for assistance in addressing processing issues in relation to the cassava crop, especially because one of the readily-available infrastructures— the Fond Assau Agro Processing Plant—had been in the retrofitting and refurbishing mode for the past six years,” the minister said. The assistance of the FAO allowed for facility upgrades to food and safety compliance standards, and the ability to accommodate the cluster groups of the Saint Lucia Network of Rural Women Producers on a full-time basis.

Read more at: Office of the Prime Minister Saint Lucia

Coconut industry benefits from CARDI project

Coconut heaven

Since the implementation of the Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Project two-and-a-half years ago, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) has made several strides in improving the local coconut industry through training as well as the establishment of new nurseries among other targeted initiatives.

The four-year project was undertaken through a partnership between CARDI and the International Trade Centre (ITC), with funding provided by the European Union. It was aimed at improving income and employment opportunities, food security, and overall competitiveness of the Caribbean coconut sector.

Participating countries in the project include Jamaica, Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and Suriname, among others in the region.

According to CARDI country representative for Jamaica Dr Gregory Robin, Jamaica has the most organised coconut industry board in the region and so a partnership was developed with the local Coconut Industry Board, which had established a national stakeholder platform that addresses all the issues along the value chain, from production to the manufacturing of coconut water, oils and soaps.

Read more at: Jamaica Observer

 

What does ‘climate-smart agriculture’ really mean? New tool breaks it down

Water catchment tank (IPS photo)

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 14 2017 (IPS) - A Trinidadian scientist has developed a mechanism for determining the degree of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) compliance with respect to projects, processes and products.

This comes as global attention is drawn to climate-smart agriculture as one of the approaches to mitigate or adapt to climate change.

Steve Maximay says his Climate-Smart Agriculture Compliant (C-SAC) tool provides a certification and auditing scheme that can be used to compare projects, processes and products to justify the applicability and quantum of climate change funding.

“C-SAC provides a step-by-step, checklist style guide that a trained person can use to determine how closely the project or process under review satisfies the five areas of compliance,” Maximay told IPS.

“This method literally forces the examiner to consider key aspects or goals of climate-smart agriculture. These aspects (categories) are resource conservation; energy use; safety; biodiversity support; and greenhouse gas reduction.”

Read more at: Inter Press Service