Saint Lucia among CBD member countries to benefit from new climate-smart aquaponics project

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The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is expanding its collaboration with INMED Partnerships for Children/INMED Caribbean to build the capacity of smallholder farmers to implement climate-smart aquaponics agriculture and strengthen micro-small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) .

The project Increasing Access to Climate-Smart Agriculture in the Caribbean through the INMED Aquaponics® Project will build the capacity of aquaponics businesses and increase climate resilience in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia and the Bahamas by developing INMED Aquaponics®.

“As economic opportunities for smallholder farmers diminish due to the significant impacts of climate change, it is imperative to introduce viable and income-generating livelihood alternatives, especially among our MSMEs,” says Lisa Harding, Development Coordinator from micro, small and medium enterprises to CBD.
Innovative solutions are particularly needed as regional economies face a variety of climate-related events. Global supply chain disruptions are delaying the delivery of food and supplies that smallholder farmers depend on for their livelihoods. Through this initiative, the Bank is proactively building climate resilience with an adaptive agriculture model.

The current economic environment has sparked renewed interest in supporting agricultural enterprises to facilitate an inclusive and resilient recovery. A climate-smart, intensive food production technique, aquaponics combines aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (production of above-ground crops) in a closed symbiotic system, significantly saving water and space compared to to conventional agriculture and producing up to 10 times more abundant fresh produce. fish all year round.

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“INMED Caribbean first introduced aquaponics to Jamaica in 2011 and has implemented two dozen systems across the island for schools, charity groups, civic organizations, small farming cooperatives and communities to enhance food security, climate adaptation and income generation,” says Dr Linda Pfeiffer. , Founder and CEO of INMED Partnerships for Children.

With key investments from the CBD, the IDB Lab and the Jamaican government, INMED Caribbean has developed a comprehensive model with links to markets and financing and other value chain support for smallholder farmers and emerging agribusinesses.

“The four countries we are evaluating for expansion are well positioned to benefit from INMED’s training program as they each have a need and appetite for aquaponic farming,” says Kristin Callahan, Chief Operating Officer of INMED.

INMED Caribbean is conducting research to identify stakeholders for the social enterprise training program to kick-start regional aquaponics expansion. The project will include virtual and in-person training workshops for participants from the pilot country, focusing on underrepresented and low-resource populations.

THE SOURCE: Caribbean Development Bank/ SLT

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