A new initiative is catching on in the Caribbean that aims to increase and sustain agricultural productivity by incorporating information about weather and climate into the farming process, all under the umbrella of climate-smart agriculture.
Promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), climate-smart agriculture seeks to sustainably increase productivity, resilience (also known as adaptation) and reduce or remove greenhouse gases (mitigation) while enhancing the achievement of national food security and development goals.
The Barbados-based Caribbean Agrometeorological Initiative (CAMI) has been encouraging this initiative and hopes to forecast the weather as accurately as possible so that the information can factored into decisions about agricultural production.
“We are looking at how the agrometerological services can work closely with the agricultural services in the whole area of food production,” Owolabi Elabanjo, an agriculture extension officer based in Antigua, told.
“We know weather has a great impact on food production – temperature, humidity, rainfall, the amount of daylight and the amount of sunshine all have effects on various crops that we grow,” Elabanjo explained.
Ten national meteorological services – Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and Belize – make up CAMI, which is funded by the European Union’s African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Science and Technology Programme.
CAMI was designed to assist the farming community in the Caribbean by providing information about rainy season predictors and about the development of pest and disease forecasting systems to help improve decision-making on farms.
Its mandate also includes the creation of a user-friendly weather and climate information newsletter as well as forums for the farming community and agricultural extension agencies to help improve understanding of the applications of weather and climate information.
The group is also supposed to obtain feedback from the farming community about products offered by meteorological services.
By Desmond Brown | www.ipsnews.net
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