Prolonged Drought Leaves Caribbean Farmers Broke and Worried: By Kenton X. Chance
The extended period drought has been plaguing farmers in the Caribbean. News have been share about the pending disastrous effects it has on many lives. Read the article below and give your comments on how efforts can be made to improve irrigation and other systems to ensure that farmers throughout the Caribbean can recover from their plight.
“CASTRIES, Jun 2 2015 (IPS) – St. Lucian farmer Anthony Herman was hoping that next year he’d manage to recoup some of the losses he sustained after 70 per cent of his cashew crop withered and died in the heat of the scorching southern Caribbean sun.
But on June 1, the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season which coincides with the rainy season, the 63-year-old man, who has been farming for four decades, received “frightening” news about weather conditions in the region over the next year or so.
“More than 50 per cent of our agriculture is rain-fed. … So it is going to affect agriculture, particularly small farmers, who are the ones who cannot afford irrigation at this time.” — Leslie Simpson
The 2015 wet season in the Caribbean, which runs from June to November, has been forecast to be drier than normal and a similar prediction has been issued for the 2016 dry season. This follows on a drier than normal dry season in 2015.
“It is frightening,” Herman tells IPS on the sidelines of the Regional Climate Outlook forum for the 2015 hurricane season being held here June 1-2.
Herman, who is board secretary and project coordinator at the Bellevue Farmers Cooperative in Choiseul, in southwestern St. Lucia, says he will summon directors to devise a response plan.
“When we hear of the threat of drought that’s going to be lengthened this year and going into next year, this to me, is frightening,” Herman tells IPS.
“Frightening in the sense that I don’t think that we, as a government, we as a people have created the resilience that is necessary to combat drought. The water infrastructure that is necessary is not available, or where it is available, it is in patches,” he says.