During a brief ceremony held on Tuesday (November 14) morning, the ministry commenced the distribution of rainwater harvesting and irrigation equipment to some twenty (20) farmers in St. Kitts.
The distribution formed part of the Resilient Caribbean Initiative that is funded by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The initiative supports Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS) using an integrated Water-Energy-Food nexus approach.
“Today, the FAO, the Mexican Government and CARICOM have come together on a project, the Water-Energy-Food nexus, and they have sought to deliver to twenty farmers equipment that would help them to be more resilient against climate change. This is what we have to do if we are serious about food security,” said the Minister responsible for Agriculture, the Honourable Samal Duggins during Tuesday’s distribution ceremony.
The minister stated that the distribution of these pieces of equipment goes hand in hand with the ministry’s thrust to achieve the CARICOM 25 by 2025 initiative, which is an effort to significantly reduce the region’s Food Import Bill.
Moreover, he said it also complements the objectives of the recently introduced Drought Resilience Irrigation Project [DRIP] programme that seeks to improve the efficiency of water use in farming.
“Our farmers need no one to tell them the pressing issues of climate change. As you plow your fields, as you grow your crops you know what the temperature outside is like; you know the days when you wish rain would fall and you know what it feels like when there is no rain and the impact of that. And so what we are saying to you [about climate change] is nothing new to you because you are the ones experiencing it, but what we are saying is that we are here. We are here in every way that we can … to support,” said Minister Duggins.
The equipment being presented to the twenty farmers includes drip irrigation systems solar water pumps, 1000-gallon water tanks, 5000-gallon water bladders, rainwater harvesting sheds, tension meters, as well as pH meters and timers.
The participating farmers also benefitted from weeks of essential training in the use of these technologies and equipment.