Fifteen school Farm Attendants from the Ministry of Education’s Agricultural Science Unit recently completed a one-week course in Hydroponics at the Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development (GARD) Center.
The course is part of a wider Climate Smart Agricultural Project in partnership with the Sandals Foundation (Jamaica) and collaborative efforts from the Agricultural Extension Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA).
The main objective is to empower youth to be aware of the contributions they can make in the agriculture sector for a better future, especially through the application of climate-smart practices in agriculture and combat climatic risks while enhancing livelihoods.
According to researchers, the hydroponics technology works well for Climate Smart Agriculture because of the water conservation and farm integration advantages as well as being a potentially more sustainable method of food production. It uses 90 percent less water and soil as compared to traditional agricultural methods of production
The young Farm Attendants learned the fundamentals of hydroponics, the various types of systems, production and management of crops grown hydroponically, and the actual construction of a demonstration unit.
Extension Officer Mr. Ika Fergus facilitated the sessions and will be assisting the GARD Center along with CARDI in conducting a number of other activities in the project – a 10-week Climate Smart agricultural course for youth, and an evening hydroponics course for women doing backyard gardening.