September 19, 2023

International partnerships could maximize the potential of the agricultural sector

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Antigua and Barbuda stand to benefit from increased agricultural partnerships with agencies further afield.

The country continues to suffer from drought conditions that present challenges in providing reliable water sources to farmers. The government has sought to alleviate this pervasive problem through innovative means and the development of the agricultural sector could be accelerated with the help of private sector financing.

Speaking at the recent 37th Regional Conference of the Americas of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Minister of Agriculture Samantha Marshall explained how the use of GDP as major determining factor may prevent the twin island from receiving development aid.

“Antigua and Barbuda is highly dependent on desalination water. The physical scarcity of water has shown over the period the inability to attract and actually dispose of surface water. We continue to face the growing threat of the impact of climate change I think we need to emphasize here that despite being seen as our GDP and the improvements we have made in growth, we continue as SIDS to be in a vulnerable state that could easily, in a single hurricane, suffer significantly,” Marshall said.

Marshall also described some of the steps being taken to address the water shortage problem, such as more reverse osmosis plants that convert seawater into drinking water, and greenhouses to grow stronger plants. and healthier.

“We introduced mobile desalination plants to ensure that we are able to improve our water production for our farmers. We have introduced policies related to the expansion of ponds and dams to allow surface water. We have also encouraged more of our farmers to engage in hydroponics, which of course you will appreciate, reduces the amount of water used and allows you to regulate, as well as d ‘other innovations such as irrigation systems,’ Marshall added.

State media reports have suggested that water production at the Crabs reverse osmosis plant will increase significantly as ongoing work will provide improved capacity.

The Cabinet also promised in February that the APUA would be able to meet Antigua and Barbuda’s water needs by the end of 2022.