FAO workshop to help Caribbean aquaponics farmers improve market access

Aquaponics. Image: Plant Chicago.

This week in Barbados, the FAO will be holding a workshop aimed at helping aquaponics farmers from around the Caribbean build their businesses sustainably:

Helping Caribbean aquaponics farmers learn and use efficient business practices that can increase their market access and support more sustainable food production in the region is the focus of an upcoming Dec. 11 to 14 workshop by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with regional governments and private sector organizations.

The event will include over 20 participants, including farmers from Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. They will be joined by fisheries and agricultural experts from their respective governments. Representatives from the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will also participate.

Under the official name, “Advancing aquaponics through improved market access: Towards a Caribbean Blue Revolution,” the four-day training aims to strengthen the contribution of aquaponics systems in regional and national food security and nutrition.

Through sessions with value chain stakeholders, participating farmers will have the opportunity to learn first-hand about market demands, food safety requirements and business planning best practices. These interactive sessions will include discussions with retailers (Massy Stores), restaurants (Lemongrass Grill), large-scale farms (PEG Farms), as well existing aquaponic farmers such as Adams Aqualife. Other participating stakeholders include Solanum, a regionally-active consulting firm with expertise in small-scale aquaponics.

“Aquaponics farming is an ideal system for many Small Island Developing States that suffer from fresh water scarcity and limited land availability, as it can use up to 90% less water than traditional irrigation systems and can produce crops intensively on a small land area. In addition, aquaponics is an innovative agricultural practice of interest to youth and has the potential of engaging more young men and women into the agricultural sector. Finally, scaling-up and increasing access to aquaponics farming in the Caribbean has great opportunities not only for income generation and increased food security, but also to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change and help increase farm resilience,” said Mrs Anne Desrochers, Director of Agriculture and Rural Development, Solanum Consulting.

See the full media release at the St. Kitts and Nevis Observer for more information about the FAO Caribbean aquaponics workshop.

[Image: Plant Chicago]

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