The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and under the Mexico – CARICOM – FAO Initiative Cooperation for Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in the Caribbean (Resilient Caribbean Initiative), is currently implementing a Water Energy Food (WEF) Nexus subproject in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica, and St. Kitts and Nevis. The project was launched in February 2021, will run until 2023, and will include solar-powered irrigation alternatives, including aquaponics or hydroponic systems.
The project aims to achieve food security through improved water and energy management and increase the resilience of vulnerable populations to climate change, which is a growing challenge in the Caribbean. An estimated 70 farmers from across the beneficiary countries will involve the implementation of selected water and energy-efficient irrigation, water harvesting, and storage systems. At least 10% of beneficiaries will be women farmers.
The WEF project aims to upscale and share lessons and best practices learned when technological innovations are incorporated at the local, national, and regional levels. In an effort to improve data collection strategies and initiatives in the region, the WEF project will focus on data collection and planning tools for decision-makers, and to build capacity in partner Ministries of Agriculture. Priority is given to training and improving the capacity of decision-makers to select rainwater storage and irrigation systems based on best practices and data collection as an integral part of the project.
Renata Clarke, FAO’s Sub-regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, opened the session by recalling the high vulnerability of Caribbean SIDS to the adverse effects of climate change and their fragility in the face of additional threats such as Covid-19. She stated: “We really need to make history,” stressing the need to break innovative ground and scale-up lessons learned across the region for water and food-secure island states. The webinar revealed that a lot of work is already being put into piloting novel technologies and their suitability for the Caribbean context.
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