Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, says that substantial new resources, new ideas and new ways of doing business are needed to address the challenges of climate change.
The Minister told delegates at the opening session of a two-day Caribbean Agro-Meteorological Initiative (CAMI) conference, at the Knutsford Hotel in Kingston on November 5, which his Ministry promotes and supports "climate-smart agriculture," as one way of addressing the challenge.
Mr. Clarke defined climate-smart agriculture as "agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience, reduces/removes greenhouse gases, while enhancing the achievement of national food security and development goals."
"We have created a country concept document for the Climate Change Adaptation Fund, to achieve the goal of climate-smart agriculture by enhancing the resilience of the agricultural sector by improving water and land management in select communities," the Minister said.
He outlined several initiatives that the Ministry will be pursuing under the project, one of which is to establish a micro-dam in northern Manchester.
The Minister also stated that the project will establish 50 rainwater harvesting and 60 small scale gravity irrigation systems in selected communities in the parishes of Trelawny, St. Mary, St. Ann, St. Catherine, St. Thomas and Clarendon.
Other initiatives include the establishment and rehabilitation of the soil conservation and land husbandry infrastructures in northern Clarendon; building the capacity of vulnerable farming communities for better land and water management by establishing climate-smart farmer field school lots in selected communities; training extension staff and farmers in climate-smart agricultural techniques and proper soil and water conservation methods; and conducting workshops and field days for farmer training in water and land management.
Mr. Clarke congratulated organisers of the conference, which will be held under the theme: ‘Breaking New Ground in the Caribbean: Weather and Climate Serving Agriculture’.
The CAMI project began in 2009 and had as its main goal, to increase and sustain agricultural productivity at the farm level in Caribbean countries through improved dissemination and application of weather and climate information.
It is supported by 10 Caribbean States and received a grant of Euro 1.11 million from the European Union through the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) Science and Technology programme. There are representatives from the 10 Caribbean States participating in the programme at the conference.