Farmers in Saint Lucia exposed to organic waste management techniques

The workshop underway in Saint Lucia (Photo via IICA)
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(IICA Press Release) Over the course of two days, farmers, small business owners and representatives of the public sector learned about economic opportunities that can be developed in Saint Lucia utilizing bio-economic models for organic waste management. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) collaborated with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) to host the event.

The objective of this initiative is to strengthen the resilience of the economies through the adoption of innovative technologies and sustainable waste management systems in the Caribbean region. Saint Lucia is one of the key beneficiary states under this phase of the project alongside Belize, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

On the nature of the workshop and its importance, Mr. Gregg Rawlins, IICA Representative in the Eastern Caribbean States said, “This activity again demonstrates our thinking at IICA that agriculture is a great, practical problem-solver for a number of the climate and socio-economic challenges facing small island developing states. In this case we are advocating an approach towards solid waste management that can help protect the environment and public health, while creating value for stakeholders of the agricultural sector”.

Through the workshop participants got a better understanding of waste streams and approaches to their management that lend to their use for developing bio-inputs including compost, as well as insight into alternative biomass conversion options that are both relevant to Saint Lucia’s context and capable of creating useful outputs.

Another area important to participants that was covered was having an appreciation for a feasible approach to better utilizing organic wastes from centralized municipal and regional sources (e.g. community upkeep programmes at the Local Government level), and avenues for collaboration to share lessons learnt in the application of composting techniques and recipes. This appealed to members of local youth organisations as well as small business owners who discussed opportunities for possible collaboration with the Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority (SLUSWMA). “This field offers a number of opportunities for prospecting entrepreneurs who can make a case for seeing the agricultural sector as more than just a food producing sector, but also a biomass conversion industry”, said Dr. Abiola, IICA’s specialist in Climate Change and Natural Resources who facilitated the workshop.

Following from the workshop, participants will utilize guidelines given to formulate compost recipes for important organic wastes, then monitor the success of their formulations ahead of evaluation at the second workshop scheduled for April 2020.

For more information, contact: Abimbola Abiola, Specialist in Climate Change and Natural Resources, IICA abimbola.abiola@iica.int

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