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Global Farmer Field School Platform

Promoting local produce to benefit farmers in Saint Kitts and Nevis through Farmer Field Schools

18/09/2017

 

 

 

 

Background

As a net food importing country, Saint Kitts and Nevis is relatively food-insecure and vulnerable to extreme climatic events, as well as to global economic shocks caused by increasing food or energy prices. The Government is seeking to create employment and income-earning opportunities, particularly for women and young people, and is embarking on a path of agricultural renewal to reduce its food import bill.
By increasing production and marketing of onions and colecrops (cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower), the present project was designed to contribute to the creation of rural employment opportunities and, by extension the improvement of national food and nutrition security.

 

What did the project do?

The project implemented a three-pronged approach to boosting local production of onion and colecrops. The first element was to strengthen the crop production skills of vegetable farmers for enhanced quality and quantity of produce available on the local market. Secondly, efforts were made to build the marketing capacity of farmers and their groups/associations, including women and young people, as well as that of the Department of Agriculture. Thirdly, emphasis was placed on preparing technical manuals and other communication materials to be shared with farmers and institutions.

 

IMPACT
The significant improvement in pre-and post-harvest handling, storage and marketing of onions and colecrops as a result of the marketing and storage strategy developed by the project has left farmers in a strong position to market their produce and generate income for their households.
At national level, strong foundations have been laid, with the institutional strengthening of the Department of Agriculture’s extension, technical and marketing capacity.

 

ACTIVITIES

  • 16 extension/technical officers from the Department of Agriculture participated in an intensive training of trainers course, resulting in the preparation and distribution of a Farmer Field School curriculum and a crop production manual for onion and colecrops with a focus on socio-economic and gender issues.
  • Trained facilitators implemented two pilot Farmer Field Schools, one on each island, involving 36 farmers, 12 technical and marketing staff and 20 agricultural college students.
  • Four field schools established, with 106 participants (76 men and 30 women).
  • Pilot onion drying and storage demonstration set up in Saint Kitts and an existing unit in Nevis refurbished to bring it up to standard.
  • Climate-smart monkey control demonstration area established, in the form of a solar-powered fence on an area of land measuring a quarter of an acre.
  • Revolving fund established from the sale of field school produce (50 percent shared among farmers and 50 percent going into the fund).

 

Project Title: Technical assistance to promote agricultural diversification towards the reduction of the importation/import bill of selected crops –onions and colecrops

Contacts

FAO Office in Saint Kitts and Nevis

Vyjayanthi Lopez (Lead Technical Officer)