Climate Change Workshop 2011: ProgrammeBackground & Objectives

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Climate change is today widely recognized as one of mankind’s greatest challenges in the 21st century. If left unchecked, climate change can seriously harm economies, societies and eco-systems around the world, especially in developing countries. Climate change is not restricted to national boundaries and it therefore only makes sense to address the issue at the regional and international level. The projected impacts in most instances are negative and are unevenly distributed across developing regions.

Agriculture is an important sector in most Caribbean countries and although this is not evident if measured on the basis of its contribution to GDP. The importance of the multiple roles of the agricultural sector (e.g. employment, food security and foreign exchange earnings, the contribution to overall rural development) and its linkages with other important sectors such as tourism and manufacturing are critical. Hence the growing concerns of the potential impact of global warming on agriculture.

The increased number of hurricanes, other adverse weather conditions, plant pests and disease have affected the quantity and quality of food produced in various islands for domestic consumption, the hospitality sector and export.

Within this context, and in view of the renewed interest shown by Caribbean policy makers in developing the agricultural sector to ensure food and nutrition security of the Region, technologies and practices that can assist in mitigating these potential impacts are of upmost importance. One such technology is protected agriculture which has had demonstrated economic, environmental and social benefits in a number of countries and attracted the interest of an increasing number of farmers and potential entrepreneurs.

The efficient use of water and land, utilization of marginal lands and the sheltering of the crop from adverse conditions are some of the features of the technology that make it an attractive option to mitigate the effects of climate change. In addition, under protected agriculture systems there is a higher rate of return; this is attributed to the greater plant density and yield per unit area, an extended harvest period, more effective pest management, better product quality, and an increased number of crops per year.

PROBLEM

Inadequate knowledge of the impact of climate change in agriculture and limited insights into mitigation and adaptation strategies appropriate for the Caribbean

OVERALL OBJECTIVE

To contribute to improved food and nutrition security, and income generation in the Caribbean Region.

PURPOSE

Adaptation techniques in the Caribbean with a particular focus on protected agriculture promoted.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Awareness among stakeholders of climate change and its impact on agriculture raised
  • Understanding of climate change adaptation options and instruments/tools for implementing same improved
  • Knowledge of the features of protected agriculture including available technologies such as, structures, production systems, nutrient and pest management; their requirements, advantages and limitations under the Caribbean conditions enhanced
  • Better insights into the economic, environmental and social benefits as well as business management aspects of protected agriculture improved
  • Recommendations for mitigating climate change in the Region promoted, inclusive of the role of protected agriculture
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