The project will contribute to increased and sustainable agricultural productivity at farm level in the Caribbean region through improved dissemination and application of weather and climate information. It will use an integrated and co-ordinated approach of networking with the meteorological services and regional and international research institutions to assist the farming community.
Weather and climate affect agricultural production in the Caribbean significantly where rainfall variability results in droughts and floods. Climate change is likely to exacerbate the impacts of natural variability and its extremes by, for example, an increasing frequency and intensity of events like floods and droughts. Therefore, it is important to raise the awareness of the farming community in the Caribbean region through the provision of information on climate change and its impacts on their production systems.
Technological developments in the monitoring and application of weather and climate have allowed a noticeable increase in agricultural productivity in several regions around the world and have become a key element for mitigation and prevention of natural disasters. Despite the great impact of climate variability on agricultural productivity in Caribbean countries, agrometeorological applications in this region have progressed at a relatively slower pace compared with other parts in the world. Agrometeorological services, especially the bulletins and advisories based on the production and use of weather and climate information in the Caribbean region, are needed by farmers to make operational decisions related to crop and soil management.
Agrometeorological applications could be improved in the Caribbean region. Given the small size of the countries, there is a lack of trained manpower to provide agrometeorological services and applications on an individual country basis but through a concerted regional networked approach, such services could be made available to the farming community. The project will promote an integrated approach to sustainable development in the Caribbean region through the co-ordination and networking of the limited meteorological services available and their supporting regional and international research institutions.
- Training of personnel of the participating meteorological and agricultural services and research institutes in relevant aspects of agrometeorology, climate and crop modelling.
- Development of predictors of the rainy season potential in different Caribbean countries through the analysis of long-term climatic data and the use of seasonal to inter-annual climate prediction models.
- Interpretation of the climate predictor and near-real time weather information for improved crop management decisions, especially irrigation scheduling, for the important domestic food crops and export crops.
- Working alongside the agricultural research and extension agencies in developing an effective pest and disease forecasting system through improved crop monitoring and use of modelling approaches.
- Preparation and wide dissemination of a user-friendly weather and climate information newsletter for the Caribbean farming community in close collaboration with the agricultural research and extension agencies.
- Organisation of regular fora with the farming community and agricultural extension agencies to promote a better understanding of the applications of weather and climate information and to obtain feedback to provide better products from the meteorological services for use by the farming community.