Dominica has been selected to be the home of the Caribbean’s first Agricultural Resilient Centre. Recognising the vulnerability of the agriculture sector in Caribbean states to climate related disasters, the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) has decided to partner with Dominica’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries, in the wake of the island’s decision to become the first climate resilient country.
Studies by IICA have shown a decline in budget allocations by Caribbean governments to the agriculture sector. The studies further show that allocations predominantly support human resource development over research and development – a practice that is markedly different in Latin American member states, where research and development is a priority. The Resilient Centre is expected to bridge this gap by facilitating greater research and development efforts in the region.
Speaking at a press briefing in Dominica the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, stated that “Climate change is here to stay. We now face the prospects of a new agriculture, and we must generate the tools required to face this issue.”
The Resilient Centre will be the engine used to generate these tools to usher in a new wave of climate resilient agricultural technology and practices. The Centre will promote innovation and research within the agriculture sector in the region. The results of the research done at the centre will provide a basis for the introduction of successful agricultural technologies in the region. In addition, the Resilient Centre will generate agriculture related knowledge and experience that will be disseminated throughout the Caribbean. Further details on the implementation of the Resilient Centre are to be discussed at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in October.
IICA is a specialised agency for agriculture within the Americas that supports the efforts of its member countries to develop their agricultural industry and achieve rural wellbeing. The agency has a membership of 35 membership states including member offices in Canada, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. IICA has had an active presence in Dominica as a member state and contributed toward efforts to revive the agricultural industry after Hurricane Maria. These efforts included assisting in organizing farmers, the introduction of vermicomposting technology both as a tool and an income earner, support for the coconut chain and honey producers.