A number of local farmers will benefit from an initiative being coordinated by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and under a Mexico-CARICOM-FAO programme that addresses climate change in the Caribbean.
The FAO is currently implementing a Water Energy Food (WEF) Nexus sub-project here, in Antigua and Barbuda, and in Barbados, Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Launched in February this year, the project will run until 2023. It will include solar-powered irrigation alternatives, including aquaponics or hydroponic systems.
Antigua and Barbuda has been experiencing severe drought conditions for over a decade, and the project aims to achieve food security through improved water and energy management.
It also seeks to increase the resilience of populations that are vulnerable to climate change, which is a growing challenge in the Caribbean.
An estimated 70 farmers from across the beneficiary countries will be involved in the implementation of selected water- and energy-efficient irrigation, water harvesting, and storage systems.
And, according to the FAO, at least 10 per cent of the beneficiaries will be women farmers.
In this way, the WEF Nexus project will assist farmers to increase their crop yields and enable them to earn more income while improving their quality of life.
A crop farmer whose output has been severely hampered this year by the less-than-expected rainfall tells REAL News he hopes the selection of farmers will be fair and that the benefit “will not be only for those who are too big to fail.”
Later, when these innovations are incorporated at the local, national, and regional levels, farmers will be able to share lessons and best practices learned, the project managers say.