As climates continue to heat up and the impact of warming grow more imminent and severe, farmers and farming communities face greater challenges every day. To address the ongoing problem and prepare for an agricultural system that can adapt, in St. Kitts and Nevis, a pilot initiative titled “Farmerintensive climate resilience and sustainable farming research”, was launched by CARDI in Mansion Village, Estridge. The main objective of the programme is to identify, conduct and facilitate the widespread uptake of priority farmer demanded research, on pathways to climate-resilient production systems.
As part of this initiative, a multi-stakeholder platform was formed in July 2020. Involved in this platform were CARDI, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and members of the Mansion Farmers’ Group.
This participatory space was formed in response to the challenges farmers voiced at meetings. Amongst the concerns for farmers were: financing, adverse weather conditions, lack of training and technical support and pest management. The researchers at CARDI, with the technical support of IICA, will commission research to address those challenges with a resilience agenda in mind. Following its first meeting, the platform agreed that “there is a need to better understand the climate’s impact on sweet potato yield and how farmers’ resources can be optimally applied as a resilience response.”
In October, the platform started to investigate the effects of quarterly and seasonal sweet potato plantings under rain-fed and irrigation conditions at the CARDI Field Station. The results of this research will help farmers determine the optimal period for planting sweet potatoes and the resources required to sustain production outside favourable planting times. This study will be funded by the platform through in-kind contributions and co-funding.
CARDI will continue to support countries in its bid to become climate-resilient and sustainable.