The agriculture sector sustained significant damage from both hurricanes Maria and Irma. The Departments of Agriculture in St. Kitts and Nevis conducted rapid assessments of the damage and the information gleaned was used to focus relief efforts under the IICA/CARDI Technical Cooperation framework.
One of the areas of focus was the provision of seeds and seedlings to farmers. Over a three month period starting in December 2017 farmers received seedlings for a range of vegetables. This phased approach prevented over supply and resulting gluts on the market.
Over 150 farmers in St Kitts from all three districts received seedlings. The targeting of women for assistance is aligned to Government’s objective of creating employment and income-earning opportunities for women and youth.
In Nevis over 24,000 seedlings of vegetables were distributed to over 50 farmers, 40% of which were females.
Shade houses are common across the agricultural landscape in St Kitts and Nevis. Many of them however, sustained damage from the strong winds. Under the CARDI/IICA Hurricane Relief effort, 16 shade houses were identified for repairs. Trained technicians and materials such as plastic film, wire, profile and fencing materials were provided to repair the damaged structures. To complement this activity a 2-day training session was facilitated by Dr Chaney St Martin, IICA Trinidad and Tobago and Dennis McClung from Garden Pool Ltd, (USA) for shade house operators, extension officers and other technical staff of the Ministry. The purpose of this training was to demonstrate the rapid dismantling of shade houses in the event of impending hurricanes.
A knock down aquaponics demonstration model has been constructed at the Department of Agriculture, Nevis. This is a climate resilient self-sustaining model which can be dismantled and securely stored in the event of an approaching bad weather system. The system was built using locally sourced materials and will be used to demonstrate to farmers and other interested persons a climate resilient production option.