Green Innovative Farming Technologies

Keeping you sensitized on the need to continuously adopt and upgrade technologies, systems and practices to build productive, ecologically friendly and resilient farming, fishing, food, beverage and agri-based industries in the Caribbean.

CARICOM’s First Smart & Integrated Tropical Greenhouse

Tackling problems of high internal temperatures, high energy costs (for  cooling) and the less than optimal plant growth and yields is important to greenhouse farmers in the Caribbean.

Under the Component 2 of the EU’s 10th EDF Intra-ACP Agriculture Policy Programme (APP), the project collaborated with UWI St.Augustine to design, build and test a tropical greenhouse as a research facility to optimise the use of these protected agriculture (PA) structures in the Region.  The collaboration of UWI – both the Faculty of Engineering who provided all the technical expertise and the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, which provided the site at its Field Station in Mount Hope – was essential to the successful completion of this innovative venture.  Given the thrust to expand PA systems in the Region, the potential results expected from this innovative ‘green’ greenhouse promises to radically transform PA systems for more efficient food production.

Read more:> 96° in the Shade: Cooling Things Down in Protected Agriculture StructuresTech-Feature-7

Home-grown adaptation to basic farm tools 

Farmer traditional knowledge blended with innovative practices is an important strategy to build resilience in small farming systems in the Caribbean.

Under Component 2 of the EU’s 10th EDF Intra-ACP Agriculture Policy Programme (APP), CARDI led a number of productivity-enhancing trials and training sessions to introduce new technologies, simple tools and improved farming practices for small farming systems.  This inspired scientists in CELOS (Centre for Agricultural Research in Suriname) to adapt a regular pruning shears with an automatic disinfecting spraying device to aid in the control of the dreaded Moko disease in plantains and bananas. This was among the several trial results disseminated at an APP regional workshop in Guyana.

Read more:> Evaluating the Benefits of Natural,
Sustainable and Innovative Practices to Combat Climate Change and Protect the Environment:APP Wkshp Proceedings 19-(Dec2016) Regional Dissemination of Field Trial Research Guyana Nov 2016

Caribbean Agriculture Stakeholders get exposed to big country agri-innovation.

Precision agriculture and continuous improvements in farm machinery, better seeds, better fertilizers, more irrigation and effective pest control all contribute to increased productivity.

For the first time, the Region made a concerted and organised effort to send Extension Officers, Farmers and scientists to the 2016 annual IFDC (International Fertilizer Development Center) study tour and training on Technology Advances in Agricultural Production, Water and Nutrient Management. As expected, some participants felt that some of the ‘big country’ agri technology did not apply to the specific crops being produced in the Caribbean. However, no learning experience is irrelevant and to see first hand, how other countries treat seriously with the same issues that the Region grapples with, was enlightening, i.e., more efficient use of water for crop production, advances in fertilizers and their more precise application, techniques to protect soil structure and the application of information technology and automation in managing farming operations. The 16 participants in this study tour was supported under the CARDI-led APP Component 2.

Read more:>Facilitating Access to New Technology,
Innovative Research Results: Proceedings-9

Improved Planting Material – an essential starting point for productive farming

The issue of access to good quality planting material is one that has long occupied the attention of farmers, research agencies and Ministries of Agriculture in the Region.

 

Meeting the growing demands for agricultural crops, not only for food for humans, but increasingly to also ‘feed’ livestock, biofuels and health and wellness industries, means growing more food. With dwindling amounts of good lands for farming, more food must be grown more intensely and productively. Getting access to enough ‘improved germplasm’, or in layman terms, ‘planting material’ is increasingly becoming an urgent priority just to maintain current levels of food production. Regardless of whether they are obtained from improved seeds, cutlets, tissue culture, or some other form of local or imported vegetative material, the Region is taking steps to strengthen its capacity to produce its own improved planting material for food crops of strategic interest. Under the APP Component 2, CARDI has expanded germplasm banks of some key root crops as well as trained farmers to produce their own improved planting material.

Read more:>Improving Crop and Livestock germplasm: what, why, how, what next?: app-policy-brief-2