The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries and Cooperative, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has launched 2 projects to promote digital agriculture and resilient agri-food systems in Grenada.
The Global Network of Digital Agriculture Innovation Hubs (DAIH) and the Regional E-agriculture for the Caribbean, a post-Covid-19 mechanism to promote resilient agri-food (REA) were both launched during an Inception and Workplan Validation Workshop for the projects from 22–24 March 2023.
The projects aim to support current initiatives implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries and Cooperatives with FAO’s technical support, and to strengthen the enabling environment for the adoption of digital agriculture strategies at the national level.
They will also seek to establish a national digital agriculture innovation hub and programme to accelerate the development and uptake of digital innovations that support farmers and other value chain actors, especially youth and women, to become more competitive. Both projects will use innovation as a tool to drive public-private partnerships.
The DAIH initiative will support the Ministry in establishing a digital transformation strategy, starting with an intervention to respond to gaps in digital agriculture. The Innovation hub will create a space where different agricultural connections can be made between stakeholders in agriculture, such as linking farmers with extension officers. This may include a marketing app or a farmer’s registration portal which would strengthen the services offered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries and Cooperatives.
The focus of the REA in Grenada will be the establishment of a drone mapping and Geographic Information System (GIS) team in the Ministry of Agriculture. This will allow the Ministry to utilise better agriculture data collection and planning techniques and acquire updated spatial information for the farming population.
The updated information will allow the Ministry of Agriculture to efficiently respond to affected farming communities when managing systemic multi-hazards risks such as flooding.
Aaron Francois, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture in speaking about the digital tools, stated that, “there are serious challenges that are facing the agricultural sector and we know some of them very well. They include low product quality, high input prices, lack of information on best practices, lack of market information for informed decision making, and a high incidence of praedial larceny. We have included a component to address praedial larceny using digital technology.”
Nikola Trendov, FAO Digital Agriculture and Innovation Specialist explained that digitalisation in agrifood systems brings several opportunities and “the new generations are already digital natives and equipping them with these tools can improve food security and help persons to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change.”
Meanwhile, Kenton Fletcher, Focal Point for the Project and Computer Systems Administrator in the Ministry of Agriculture stated that, “We need to bring in Information and communication technologies to improve production, to improve marketing and also have innovative ideas on how we can help farmers do better record keeping, and better management of their farms.”
Vermaran Extavour, FAO Project Coordinator, said that the initiatives would provide Grenada with a strategy for transforming the sector digitally while piloting the use of emerging solutions in the agriculture sector for farmers “to access weather data that is relevant for planting and making more informed decisions.”
The E-agriculture for the Caribbean, a post-Covid-19 mechanism to promote Resilient AgriFood (REA) is a regional project benefitting 6 countries: the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana and St Kitts, and Nevis.
Ministry of Agriculture and Land, Fisheries and Cooperatives…ensuring food and nutrition security.
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