Bolstering agriculture production through the use of ICTs
(CARDI) CARDI Saint Lucia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, hosted a workshop recently on ‘Market Intelligence as a Strategy to Better Manage Climate Change Risks’.
Stakeholder agencies including the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Export St Lucia, Massy Stores, St Lucia Marketing Board and the St Lucia Hotel and Tourism Authority participated in a panel discussion following the opening ceremony. The discussion centred around the value of using ICTs in bolstering economic activity, crop production and information sharing within the sector.
Targeting farmers, extension and research officers and students the workshop demonstrated how ICTs can be used to inform decision making at the farm level. Participants saw first-hand how data sets on rainfall, tourist arrivals and festivals can be used to inform crop planning and scheduling and on-farm water management. Market issues and irrigation technology are two critical factors affecting farmers in St Lucia.
Crop scheduling is important so that the market is never in demand or over supplied. In countries such as St Lucia where small farmers dominate production it is best they operate as groups to maximize yields to efficiently satisfy the demands of the market.
At the workshop participants were introduced to a web based tool to assist in scheduling production. CARDI Representative, Andrea Veira, noted that “training and use of ICT enabled tools will help farmers better respond to the markets so reducing wastage and increasing farmers’ profitability”.
The workshop was part of the Advancing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Solutions for Climate Smart Agricultural Practices Workshop funded by the Japan-CARICOM Friendship and Cooperation Fund.