St. John’s Antigua- The agricultural, meteorological and business communities have joined forces in efforts to find solutions to farmers’ weather woes.
The Barbados-based Caribbean Agrometeorological Initiative (CAMI) is meeting at Point Wharf today to assess whether the initiative, conceptualised in 2000, is spelling success for Antiguan & Barbudan farmers.
The main function is to use information from the meteorological division to inform farmers of weather related occurrences that can affect crops; including drought projections and other information that could increase yields and decrease losses.
Stakeholders are meeting with area farmers for the two-day forum that will ascertain whether or not the information compiled by CAMI has been useful in crop and prevention planning.
“All of this information is to aid farmers and give them an idea what exactly is going on. Hopefully, it can be used to increase their yield or to make their losses less,” Acting Met Office Director, Keithley Meade, said in an interview with OBSERVER Media.
Meade noted that the farmer’s feedback would help the organisation, run by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), to adjust their strategies to better suit their needs, saying, “It would help us better serve them.”
According to Meade, the UNDP funded project will soon conclude; however, he said that its work “has to continue the CAMI project that is funded by UNDP and that the country will have to continue the work.
“The Met office has been at the forefront to this CAMI project …We have been trying not only to offer traditional services that Met offices are known for, but for a more broad-based look at what we can provide to the public and society on a whole,” Meade said.
The Ministry of Agriculture is also a partner in the CAMI project. According to extension officer in the Ministry, Owalabi Elabanjo, the second day of the forum will be used to set up a tripartite committee to look into how the agriculture and meteorological sector can better assist and represent farmers.
The officer said that farmers could reap financial benefits from working alongside programme stakeholders, saying, “People need to understand that when we forecast or weather info is given this is how they can utilise the information for the benefit of their business.”
The second day of the forum, on Wednesday, will be used to launch a tripartite committee that will allow for farmers, the Ministry and Met Office to collectively come up with a “broad-based approach” combining efforts into the future.