Institute actions focus on rehabilitation projects such as the installation of a Climate Smart Greenhouse, distribution of input and supplies and farming animals.
St. John’s, 22 March 2018. (IICA). Agriculture Groups in Antigua and Barbuda were the recipients of agricultural materials that will help in the rehabilitation and revitalization of their livelihoods post Hurricane Maria.
Input supplies such as planting materials, fencing wires, livestock feed, apiculture supplies, among others materials, were distributed thanks to the intervention of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), in support of the rehabilitation of the sector.
The initiative was designed to target a number of sectors such as Small Ruminants Apiculture and Vegetable Production. The actions are being executed in the immediate to short term, as climate change affects the livelihood of farming communities by impacting the agriculture through changing the conditions for crops and plant growth, and in turn food supply.
A number of Producer Groups have benefited from the rehabilitation project which included The Barbuda Farms Group, Barbuda Farmers Cooperative, Antigua and Barbuda Beekeepers Co-operative and CaFan members. The students and faculty staff members from the Sir Mc Chesney George Secondary School which is the only High School on Barbuda were also beneficiaries of the project.
Some of the interventions that have been executed so far are rehabilitation and installation of a Climate Smart Greenhouse (at the School), demo-plot setup of a selected grasses and legumes pasture with a Leucaena and Mulberry feed bank; demo-plot setup of an irrigation and fertirrigation system; design and distribution of durable hive boxes; distribution of feed for livestock; distribution of 10 Black Belly and Black Head sheep breeds; distribution of input and supplies and capacity building activities.
The IICA-CARDI Proposal for Post Hurricane Rehabilitation of the agricultural sectors in the affected countries was designed to complement and supplement other initiatives planned and ongoing in the affected countries, with particular reference to initiatives being led by the respective Government authorities and the OECS Commission.
In addition, the actions also complemented and supplemented ongoing efforts by CARDI to provide seed and rebuild nursery infrastructure, as well as actions planned by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Through interventions from partners and stakeholders, the NGOs and the private sector provided additional resources and support during the rehabilitation process. IICA participated in this rehabilitation process thanks to a Rapid Response Action and to the Flagship Project Resilience and Comprehensive Risk Management in Agriculture, two of the main technical cooperation instruments of the Institute.
On 6 September 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the Islands of Barbuda and Antigua with catastrophic effects. Hurricane Irma made landfall as a category 5 storm, generating winds in excess of 180 miles per hour (mph) or 290 kilometers per hour (km/h).
The storm’s eye passed directly over Barbuda exposing the island to the highest wind velocities in the storm. While out of the path of the eye, Antigua, located approximately 27 miles to the south of Barbuda, experienced tropical storm force winds with gusts recorded of up to 60 mph.
During the event, Barbuda was exposed to the extraordinary eye wall winds for more than three hours as the storm passed over the center of the island. This was accompanied by a significant storm surge of 5 to 11 feet, which resulted in flooding extending 600 meters (m) inland.
Compounding the situation, on 18 September, Hurricane Maria (also a category 5 storm) affected the island of Antigua. Although Hurricane Maria did not make landfall, Antigua was exposed to the north-eastern quadrant of storm and experienced tropical storm force winds and associated rainfall.
According to the World Bank, the recovery needs assessment concluded that the total damage caused by the Irma and Maria events in Antigua and Barbuda amounts to EC$ 367.5 million (US$ 136.1 million), while losses amount to approximately EC$ 51.2 million (USD 18.9 million). Recovery needs amount to EC$ 600.1million (USD 222.2 million).
The projects will end on 31 March 2018.
Craig Thomas, National Specialist at the IICA Delegation in Antigua and Barbuda