Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Antigua and Barbuda stand to benefit from increased agricultural partnerships with agencies further afield.
The country continues to suffer from drought conditions which present challenges in providing reliable water sources for farmers. The Government has sought to mitigate this pervasive issue by way of innovative means and development of the agriculture sector could be accelerated with the help of private sector funding.
Speaking during the recently held Food and Agriculture Organisation’s 37th Regional Conference of the Americas, Minister of Agriculture Samantha Marshall detailed how using GDP as a major determining factor can prevent the twin-island from receiving developmental aid.
“Antigua and Barbuda is highly dependent on desalination water. The physical water scarcity has shown over the period the inability to really attract and have surface water. We continue to have the increasing threat of the impact of climate change. I think we should highlight here that despite us being looked at as our GDP, and what improvements we have made in growth, we continue as SIDS to be in a vulnerable state that easily, within one hurricane, could suffer significantly,” Marshall said.
Marshall also outlined some of the measures taken to tackle the issue of water scarcity such as more reverse osmosis plants which convert sea water into potable water, and greenhouses to grow stronger, healthier plants.
“We have introduced the mobile desalination plants as a means of ensuring that we are able to improve our production of water for our farmers. We have introduced policies related to the expansion of ponds and dams to allow for surface water. We have also encouraged more of our farmers to engage in hydroponics, which of course, you’ll appreciate, reduces the use of the amount of water and allows you to regulate, as well as other innovations such as irrigation systems,” Marshall added.
State media reports have suggested that water production at the Crabs Reverse Osmosis Plant will significantly increase since ongoing work will ensure an improved capacity.
Cabinet also promised in February that APUA would be able to meet water needs across Antigua and Barbuda by the end of 2022.