Advancing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Solutions for Climate Smart Agricultural Practices
This is a project funded by the Japan-CARICOM Friendship and Cooperation Fund aimed at assisting farmers in St.Lucia. St. Lucia is the pilot country for this project and based on the challenges faced by farmers in St.Lucia, two main areas stood out: market issues and irrigation technology.
This project examines trends in climate data and market availability in order to work with farmers to schedule production as well as implement water efficient irrigation systems for use in the dry season.
ICTs explored will include an online link to schedule crops, a Whatsapp group chat for knowledge sharing, demonstration of a fertigation system, demonstration of a buried verses surface irrigation system and an automated irrigation system controlled by a mobile application.
The outputs of the project included:
- A Baseline Report and database on meteorological, agronomic and socioeconomic data developed
- Technical Report developed on existing and potential Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices, obstacles and challenges
- Innovative ICT solutions for CSA practices
- Key stakeholders trained in ICT solutions for CSA practices
The second workshop was held on September 24th and 25th 2019 at the CARDI Field Station and Bethel Blessings Events and Conference Centre in Dennery, St.Lucia. Over 30 participants including farmers, students, and agriculture stakeholders from across the OECS Member States: Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St Vincent & the Grenadines were in attendance.
The workshop utilised Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to analyse market trends, schedule production, map farm locations and integrate automated and injector irrigation systems into farm practice. Some of the ICTs used were: a web based application for crop scheduling, ‘Terra Sync’ for farm GIS mapping and ‘Open Sprinkler’ for automated irrigation control via a mobile phone.
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Cooperatives, St. Lucia. Ezechiel Joseph and Mr Toshihide Kanaya, Second Secretary at the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad visited the first day of the workshop. Minister Joseph on visiting the workshop expressed,
“ I am happy to see so many young farmers here today, we have to embrace the technology and begin to make the necessary changes if we are going to reduce our food import bill. We also need a regional approach in creating and implementing policies so I am pleased to have our OECS member states represented here today. There is need for serious research in adopting these kinds of technologies that consider the challenges of climate change”.
The technologies shared were very useful to farmers
Farmer Garvey Charlemagne indicated, “I would definitely endorse the use of ICTs on farms around the island, especially in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change. We need to embrace the use of technology in agriculture which results in major cost savings for the farmer, as it is less labour intensive, ensures that water is used effectively for irrigation and addresses the high cost of weed management. The technology which we were exposed to in this project will undoubtedly enhance the agricultural sector, not only here in St. Lucia but for our Caribbean colleagues as well. I have embraced the use of ICT as a tool for marketing and networking with other farmers and I am presently working towards implementing other aspects which I was exposed to. This includes fertigation, automated watering, the use of tools to measure soil water levels, the application of sub-surface drip tapes and the use of mulching to eliminate the need for constant weeding. I must say thank you to CARDI St. Lucia, the Japan-CARICOM Friendship and Cooperation Fund, Dr. Govind Seepersad, Dr. Dave Goorahoo and Ms. Shivani Seepersad.
For more information on this project please click here.
Workshop materials can be accessed via the links below:
- Market Information and Climate Change- Understanding Rainfall
- Market Information and Climate Change- Understanding Tourist & Holidays
- Market Intelligence as a Strategy to Better Manage Climatic Variability Risks
- Solutions for Climate Smart Agricultural Practices using a Geographic Information System (GIS) Presenter:
- Training Module
For additional project photos please click the below link to Ministry of Agriculture’s facebook page:
It is very important to schedule the production of crops so that your market is never in demand or over supply. In countries practicing small farming this is best done in groups of farmers in order to combine numbers to meet the needs of the market. From this workshop you learned when are the demands for certain crops and how the wet and dry seasons affect this.
You can now click on the link below to schedule your production by indicating your desired harvest date. You can use this link and place your dates on a calendar as your guide.
Link to Crop Scheduler: http://dev.seepersad.org/shiny/plantdates/
CARDI St. Lucia
Office: Odsan, Cul de Sac
Field Station: La Ressource, Dennery
If you are a farmer and you would like to be added to the CARDI ST.LUCIA FARMERS’ GROUP CHAT, please call or email your name, agricultural region and telephone number to our St.Lucia Office.