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Ministry of Agriculture to launch Climate Change Mitigation Unit


Ministry of Agriculture to launch Climate Change Mitigation Unit

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THE MINISTRY OF Agriculture will shortly be establishing a unit to mitigate the effects of climate change on the farming community.

This disclosure was made by chief agricultural officer, Lennox Chandler, on Thursday, as he spoke to agricultural specialists at a Drought Mitigation Seminar at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St Michael.

Giving the rationale for the creation of the unit, Chandler expressed the view that the region had not been aggressive in tackling climate change, or taking steps to create plans and policies to mitigate it.

“One of the early orders of business for me will be establishing a unit in the Ministry of Agriculture to focus exclusively on climate change issues… I’m sure there will be dissenting voices of people saying that they have been doing a lot but I have not seen those things happening on the ground,” he pointed out.

Chandler explained that the Climate Change Unit would be responsible for researching the varieties of drought tolerant and salt tolerant crops which may thrive in Barbados, as well as soil and water conservation and plant water storage.

In addition, he noted that the Unit would partner with several related entities, including the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology and The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

“We have to show that we are serious about climate change and we’re doing something practical on the ground to address it within the Ministry as it relates to agriculture,” the Chief Agricultural Officer reinforced.

Agricultural Consultant, Steve Skeete, said that despite living in a water scarce country, not enough Barbadians stored water, and delivered a presentation about several measures that farmers could employ to harvest rainwater.

 “As a farmer, having stored water allows you…to deliver water to your crops at specific times and produce a good yield. You can also supply produce when there is a lack of availability of the crops and the price would be very good,” Skeete suggested.

The Drought Mitigation Seminar continues next Thursday, February 11. (Reuters)