Climate/weather smart agricultural food production systems are being installed in 6 schools and 1 community in Barbados under the ‘Promotion of Agricultural Crop Production Systems which Demonstrate Resilience to Climate and Weather’ project, financed by the Government of Ireland (Implementing Agency) and the CARICOM Secretariat (Executing agency). CARDI Barbados is leading the implementation of the project’s activities.
The schools benefitting from this initiative are: Charles F Broome Memorial Primary School, Ellerton Primary School, Mount Tabor Primary School, St. Ambrose Primary School, New Horizons Academy and Welches Primary School. A system is also being installed in the New Castle community. Support is also being provided to upgrade existing climate smart systems at the Coleridge & Parry School and Grantley Adams Memorial School.
Following consultation with the schools’ administration and the New Castle Community group, one of the following 4 systems will be chosen and established: hydroponic crop production using horizontal nutrient film technique or deep flow technique, timer controlled bucket drip system; raised grow beds with drip irrigation; and fruit tree production using a bucket system and vertical trellis system for vine crops.
So far, hydroponic nutrient film technique systems and timer controlled bucket drip systems have been installed at Welches Primary, Ellerton Primary, New Horizon Academy, St. Ambrose Primary and Mount Tabor Primary.
CARDI has also been conducting theoretical and practical training sessions for stakeholders (students, parents, teachers and community members) on the principles and management of the systems.
Weather and climate variability continues to have a profound impact on agricultural crop production in the Region. The uncertainty and risks associated with these, impact food production and availability, revenue generation and sustainable livelihoods. The adoption of climate resilient systems is an important derisking option that facilitates more reliable food production. The project partners recognise that the involvement of students and their parents are critical to building awareness and mainstreaming the adoption of these practices and technologies.
The project also aims to promote positive attitudes among children, such as learning how to grow healthy food for better nutrition. It is also designed to expose stakeholders to various agronomic and sustainable practices such as: water harvesting, nutrient recycling, water conservation, composting, mulching, record keeping and safe use of bio pesticides.