Twenty practitioners from the Agriculture Sector in Barbados had the opportunity to be trained in Water Use Efficiency at a workshop put on by the GWP Caribbean and its partner, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, on 5-7 September 2012. The workshop was developed by GWP Caribbean to build capacity for improved water management through water use efficiency techniques in agriculture.
Also included were field visits to an irrigation water collection pond from which farmers pump water; a trip to the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation and a visit to a farm where participants saw on-farm irrigation practices.
The keynote address was given by Mr. Charleston Lucas, Chief Agricultural Officer (Acting) in the Ministry of Agriculture of Barbados. Mr. Lucas explained that optimising water use is critical to agriculture, especially given the high price of food. He cited the significance of irrigation particularly in the dry season to ensure that supply remains stable to keep prices down.
Mr. Lucas further highlighted that a major challenge is to minimise water use while at the same time maximising crop output. He explained to workshop participants that improving water use efficiency would allow for water conservation and lower costs; noting production costs in agriculture are high in Barbados which is resulting in low competition with other countries.
The workshop by the GWP Caribbean and CARDI was the first in Barbados. Previous workshops have been held in St. Kitts and Jamaica between 2009 and 2011.