By Aabigayle McIntosh
The recent passage of tropical storm Philipe has not only replenished the water supply for the Antigua Public Utilities Authority but has also provided a welcome boost to local farmers in the region.
Director of Agriculture Gregory Bailey said most of the water catchments created by the ministry are now overflowing. However, there is a problem with volume.
“One of the challenges that Antigua and Barbuda have regarding meeting its 2025 goal. Note that the goal is a regional one; however, is the issue of scaling up.”
“Based on what I have been exposed to in the Bahamas, Antigua, and Barbados is on par technology in our farming community…”Bailey said.
He said the approach would be to coordinate using water from both the surface and the Reverse Osmosis plant.
Bailey was part a ministry high-level delegation that attended the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA), this year in the Bahamas.
Some of the critical issues discussed were water for Agriculture and regional transport. A business forum was also held to showcase some of the products currently available for export in the region.
“As it relates to trade, I think the problem is coordination. Studies have been done, and it shows that we can transport goods amongst ourselves because a lot of times when vessels come to Antigua and Barbuda, for example, they generally return empty,” Bailey said
Talks at CWA also centered around livestock farming, especially reducing the exorbitant cost of feed, which is a significant issue. Stakeholders at the meeting deliberate on a new technology that involves insects, the black soldier flies, as a possible replacement for feed.
“Some researches are being done at the University of the West Indies St Augustine campus to see to what extent we can grow these insects, scale them up, and integrate them as livestock feed,” Bailey said.