Tuesday, 08 October 2013 23:08

Making climate smart decisions in agriculture

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The many challenges presented by climate change could provide a platform for greater collaboration among Caribbean scientists and in the long-term redound to the benefit of the entire region, executive director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) Dr Arlington Chesney has said.

Dr Chesney was speaking at a two-day climate change workshop on “Monitoring and Managing Pest Population under a Changing Climate”, at the Guyana International Conference Centre during the 12th Caribbean Week of Agriculture.


The workshop which looked at the impact of climate change on Caribbean agriculture is a partnership between the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA), the Wageningen University and Research Centre and the University of Florence. It brought scientists from a wide cross section of disciplines including meteorology, entomology, agricultural extension and marine biology.

Dr. Chesney reminded his colleagues that their efforts at finding “climate smart solutions” for the region which includes two distinctly different sets of countries impacted by this severe phenomenon – Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and those such as Belize, Guyana and Suriname, which while boasting much greater land mass are low-lying coastal countries.

“Temperature rise in the Caribbean is going faster than anywhere else in the world (and) salt water intrusion is also moving faster than we like,” he said in reinforcing the need for urgency in addressing climate change.

Noting that people in poor rural farming and coastal communities were more at risk from severe weather activities such as drought, rainfall, see level rise and storm surges. Dr Chesney said, “the Green Agriculture initiative must in addition to helping to make them more resilient in coping, also empower with the knowledge to prosper by way of climate smart agricultural practices”.

Michael Hailu, Director of CTA warned about the dangers of such projects getting bogged down at the policy level and called for, “implementation of best practices which had been tested across the globe, subject to adaptation to local circumstances, in a timely and effective manner”.

He said, the CTA has been partnering with various agencies, “to develop best practices under various conditions and environments, while empowering constituents with the necessary skill sets to maximise success”.

Mr. Hailu pointed out, that “while policy guidelines and protocol has a very important place”, in the scheme of things, there was “danger of well-intentioned interventions missing the mark”, in part due to “inappropriate (late) implementation”.

In relation to the workshop, CARDI and CTA launched a booklet they have co-published on climate smart agriculture in the Caribbean.

The 12th staging of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) continues until Saturday, October 12, with the CTA, in partnership with various organisations, hosting the first ever fisheries workshop during the event which will bring together stakeholders from various levels with the fisheries industry.

This is in keeping with its mission is advance food and nutritional security, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resource management in ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries by providing access to information and knowledge, facilitating policy dialogue and strengthening the capacity of agricultural and rural development institutions and communities.

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Participating Countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bahamas
  • Dominica
  • Guyana
  • Grenada
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Montserrat
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • Suriname
  • Saint Lucia
  • Trinidad and Tobago

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