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Best Practices Training for Better Farming in Barbados

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been an important partner in Barbados’ drive to achieve its agricultural and marine development priorities, including natural resource management and climate change adaptation.

This partnership has continued under the ‘Addressing the Water-Energy-Food Nexus’ (WEF) sub-project of the “Mexico – CARICOM – FAO Initiative Cooperation for Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in the Caribbean.”

The initiative targets actions that contribute to reducing the impacts of global shocks such as climate change and COVID-19 on household livelihoods, food and water availability, including practices in technologies for improved water productivity. Critical to achieving this is the implementation of best practices training within the agriculture sector to ensure environmental management.

Sixteen farmers under the WEF subproject are receiving training in ‘Farming Best Practices’ to learn efficient irrigation techniques, water resource management, and conservation agriculture methods. The distribution of rainwater harvesting/storage facilities and assistance with solar powered irrigation systems for sustainable open field production and soil conditioning are key components of the training to further support the technical knowledge. The training is being facilitated by FAO National Project Coordinator (NPC) for the WEF sub-projectKris Grogan and Agricultural Best Practices Specialist Mr Colin Maynard.

FAO Representative Barbados Mr Juan CheazPelaez, noted that “This sub-project seeks to address the Water-Energy-Food nexus. We know that, among others, climate change will exacerbate water scarcity. Inadequate access to water for agricultural production, along with the high dependence on imported fossil fuels combine to worsen the vulnerability of producers in Barbados.”

The Barbados Climate Change and Agricultural Policy Framework encourages adaptation and mitigation measures for the agricultural sector to build resilience against the impact of climate change. The FAO ‘Farming Best Practices’ training is another program which will facilitate agricultural development as the participants identify problems, test solutions, and adopt appropriate practices.

FAO NPC Kris Grogan stated “We are happy with the attendance at today’s training as we aim to boost resilience and facilitate adaptation to climate change in Barbados. These opportunities under this project will help farmers further develop best practices and skills by providing learning experiences and promoting exchange of information.

This farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange adds to the value of the training as the sessions allow for discussion in a collaborative manner where farmers’ can learn from each other’s abilities and experience. The training also seeks to empower farmers in innovation with the use of on-farm renewable energy systems, solar powered irrigation systems and water storage facilities provided.

Workshop participant Tanisha Hunte spoke to the value of the training indicating that, “Sometimes on-farm rainwater harvesting seems farfetched but today made it seem more feasible.

The “Mexico – CARICOM – FAO Initiative Cooperation for Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in the Caribbean” or ‘Resilient Caribbean Initiative’ aims at improving the resilience and adaptation to climate change of agriculture, food systems and rural communities in vulnerable populations in Caribbean countries. The initiative will advance water resource management to increase agricultural productivity. The project will also address the challenge of the low productivity of small-scale farming by providing technological innovation to agricultural producers.

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