The Agriculture Sector in Dominica and the wider Caribbean is inherently vulnerable to climate change. Farm holdings are small, usually located on steep erodible slopes, are very heavily reliant on rainfall, susceptible to droughts and has limited investment in heat and drought tolerant crops. Further, the general absence of site and varietal specific yield results in manual approaches to yield optimization and to investigating the impacts of agro-ecology on production. Crop modeling offers hope for improving yield prediction and optimization in a changing climate especially because it can explore a number of “what if” scenarios in a virtual environment which would otherwise be both time and cost prohibitive.
CARDI is an implementing partner of The CAMBIO NET Caribbean Cooperation project which seeks to build a new agriculture in the Caribbean/Amazonia area. The project is co-financed by the INTERREG Caraïbes programme under the European Development Fund, under the Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion Policy of the European Union.
In keeping with Dominica’s vision of becoming a Global Centre for Climate Resilience, CARDI coordinated a training workshop on ‘Innovative Digital Tools to Aid Decision Making for Agriculture Resilience’ from 27- 30 September, 2022 at the UWI Open Campus in Roseau.
The training introduced participants to the FAO Aqua Crop Model and the Decision Support System for Agro-technology Transfer (DSSAT) Model. Trainers discussed the merits of both models and provided hands-on training in gathering input data and using the models. In addition, participants gained a better understanding of climate smart agriculture practices and the ACCEPT Agri-Online Portal and insights into Climate Smart All-platform Application.
The workshop was facilitated by a team of regional scientists led by leading Crop Modelling expert in the region, Dr. Dale Rankine, and included researcher and lecturer in the Climate Studies Group UWI, Mona, Dr. Jayaka Campbell and postgraduate student, Matthew Davis and expert in Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) compliance, Mr. Steve Maximay.
A total of 17 persons, including 8 women and 9 men, from across several organizations: Division of Agriculture, Dominica State College, World University Services of Canada, Goodwill Secondary School, CARDI and one farmer, received training in the use of crop modelling tools, FAO Aquacrop model and DSSAT. In a post workshop evaluation, 80 percent of respondents indicated that the training was useful or very useful. Follow up activities will include crop modelling research in a selected crop together and strengthening climate services for the agriculture sector.