Flooded farmland in Jamaica. Photo credit: Jamaica Information Service

Roseau, Dominica…The increasing possibility of more arable lands in the Caribbean falling out of production due to salination (lacking in organic content on account of rising sea levels and salt water intrusion) is of great concern to the region‟s agronomists.

Professor Nazeer Ahmad, Professor Emeritus, University of the West Indies, said some 9,000 hectares of land in Jamaica alone is out of production because of saline water intrusion. The case is even more chronic in some other Caribbean nations.

Professor Ahmad was addressing the topic of “Soil water management system for a drier Caribbean” at a Climate Change Adaptation in Caribbean Agriculture workshop in Dominica hosted by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) as part of the CWA activities.

He insists that an urgent need for water management of agricultural lands must be addressed if the region is to maximize crop production, the presenters agreed.

Case studies were presented by Mr Stanley Rampair, about a variety of irrigation systems in St Elizabeth, Jamaica; and by Greg Marshall about irrigation best practices of a farm in Barbados.

Other issues up for discussion at the three-day event include: Climate variability and change and water availability in the Caribbean, Managing water resources under a changing climate and Adaptation strategy for agriculture in the Caribbean in relation to declining water resources as a result of climate change.
A field trip to the Water resources management and irrigation facilities in Dominica is expected to demonstrate available options to participants.

The 10th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) is being hosted from the 9-15 October, 2011 in Dominica under the theme “Caribbean Food and Nutrition Security in a Changing Climate – The Nature Island Experience”.