As the world moves towards the use of renewable energy, Bajans are making sure that they are not left out of the equation. Recently, 24 people were trained in addressing the Water-Energy Nexus in Agriculture’.
The sub-project of the Mexico-CARICOM-FAO Initiative “Cooperation for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in the Caribbean or the Resilient Caribbean Initiative, in short, trained residents on the use of solar energy for farming practices.
It is a means of making renewable energy technology in agricultural production more accessible to farmers. The initiative is the brainchild of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Government of Mexico, and the Government of Barbados.
The training was also designed to build the capacity of participants to use and maintain a solar-powered water pumping system that will be provided to selected farmers under the project.
Participants were introduced to the key components of the system, as well as their safe handling, operation, and maintenance.
The training included interaction with solar photovoltaic modules and a practical demonstration that allowed trainees to gain practical knowledge of how solar technology can be operated for crop irrigation.
Workshop Facilitator, Marlon Moore said the participants benefited from an introduction to viable renewable energy options for the Caribbean, including wind and solar energy.
“They were exposed to a variety of innovative applications for renewable energy in farming such as lighting and security and using passive solar energy for curing and processing of certain crops. It also demonstrated how solar-powered irrigation systems, to be provided through the project, will operate,” he said
Meanwhile Senior Agricultural Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Glenn Marshall indicated this initiative was necessary to the sustainability of the agricultural sector as the Caribbean continues to grapple with the impacts of climate change and growing water scarcity.
“As our climate becomes hotter and drier, the prolonged dry spells will continue to impact our agricultural sector. We are seeing the effects now, but it will get worse. We need to start the technical adjustments and build the ability of our farming community to adapt. Access to solar energy and alternative technologies that will help us through is one way we can build resilience and ensure we know where the water for agriculture will come from. This project is important to meeting these goals.” He added.
As the effects of climate change intensify, sea levels are likely to rise, decreasing freshwater quality and increasing the frequency and severity of droughts.
This, coupled with inefficiencies in the use of water, particularly affects agricultural production, which is in strong competition with other sectors for water resources.