The Barbados Meteorological Service is working closely with members of the farming community to ensure they are better prepared to meet the challenges of climate change.

Changing weather and climate patterns in the region have resulted in varying conditions – warmer days and/or prolonged rain – which in some cases, have extensively damaged crops and in turn, impacted agricultural production. This has had a serious bearing on how farmers operate their businesses.

Director (Ag) of Barbados Meteorological Services, Hampden Lovell, explained that his office was presently involved in a new project called the Caribbean Agrometeorological Initiative (CAMI), which would go a long way in ensuring that farmers have the necessary information to better plan their farming schedules.

"We have been engaged in workshops with the farmers updating them on pending rain, rainfall averages and totals for the year so that they can use this information to schedule their farming and decide what crops to grow and at what time," he pointed out.

Mr. Lovell added that the information collated by his office on local weather and climate conditions could prove quite valuable in terms of long-term planning for the sector.

"We have a lot of data which we would have collected over the years – rainfall, temperature and humidity, and all that is needed is for a collaboration of the meteorological section and agriculture to take this data and do some good analysis on it and use it to do forecasting for several reasons, whether it is crop planting, reaping, [or] selection of crops. So, the main focus there would be data acquisition and sharing as we seek to improve the agricultural sector," he said.

The objective of CAMI is to increase and sustain agricultural productivity at the farm level in the region through improved dissemination and application of weather and climate information using an integrated and coordinated approach.

The programme was launched in February 2010 and will run for a three-year period.


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