PRESS RELEASE – Coming out of a severe drought and entering an unpredictable rainy season would have turned off many farmers from planting crops this year. However, farmers of La Pointe Mon Repos who recently completed FarmerField School are recording record harvests this time of year.
The Farmer Field School was held as part of a project entitled “Promoting Climate Smart Practices in Water Storage, Conservation and Management by farmers of La Pointe, Micoud, St. Lucia.”
This project was funded by AusAID through the UNDP GEF Small Grants Program. At the end of the sessions twenty-five (25) members of Superior Broom Producers received a water tank and drip lines which aided in the setting up of water harvesting, storage and conservation systems on their farms or backyard gardens. Three months later – the results are in.
According to the Project Administrator, Mr. Elisha Norbert, the farmers are “extremely excited and feel motivated” by what they have been able to achieve. According to him, water storage and distribution has been a concern for man from the emergence of civilization.
The tanks serve as a farmers’ reservoir in times of shortage. The drip lines have made the extremely labor intensive task, of watering each plant, into a job done automatically by simply opening a valve. However, Mr. Norbert purports that there is still more that can be done.
More farmers need to be open to the technological advancement taking place in the world today. The initial investment has to be subsidized and farmers have to be heavily monitored.
With increasing demand for organic produce coupled with the “free fertilizer” being washed unto our shores, farmers need to move away from the over-reliance on harmful chemicals and use integrated pest management, timely watering and composting.
On the other hand, the farmers with their farms along the flood plains of the Fond River require urgent assistance in dealing with flood mitigation as they are adamant that the cleaning of the mouth of the river will prevent the loses they continue to suffer from recently recurring floods in that area.
Mr. Norbert predicts that if farmers receive the support that they need and are held accountable for such investment, food security in St. Lucia will be something to boast about. Farmers who are interested in touring the farms are asked to contact any of the members of the group to arrange a site visit.