From September 17 to September 22, 2015 an exchange mission to Grenada took place – with two experts from the Saint Lucia Ministry of Agriculture, Food Production, Fisheries, Cooperatives & Rural Development training farmers in the Beausejour Valley in Grenada on Good Agricultural Practices.
Thaddeus Constantin, from Saint Lucia’s Agricultural Research Department, held various sessions with the North-East Farmers’ Organisation on Natural Pest Control and Bio-Fertilizers. The objective was to teach farmers how to substitute chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and others through natural brews and mixtures. The process of cooking and extracting was demonstrated during a hands-on session on Saturday, September 19, on a farm in New Hampshire. Mr Constantin also trained farmers how to build a bio-fermenter with locally available material – to ferment pig waste and fish waste to produce high quality, low cost fertilizers.
Quint Odlum, Technical Engineer from Saint Lucia’s Agricultural Engineering Department, prepared and supervised the installation of a biogas-digester on a pig farm in Vendom during this week. The first day of the mission had been used to assess various pig farms and to identify the most suitable location for a pilot-structure. The biogas-digester that had been installed as a pilot in Grenada used existing knowledge from a joint project implemented between the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Ministry of Agriculture in Saint Lucia. Mostly locally available material had been used for the installation of the digester – except the plastic liner for the digester had been imported.
According to Mr Odlum, the advantages of the installation of a biogas digester are threefold: „the first part of it is the production of biogas which will eventually save the farmer some costs. The second part to it is an environmental aspect as the digester reduces the amount of pig waste ending up in the rivers. The third part of the biogas digester is the possibility for the farmer to make money, because we are able to make both liquid and solid fertilizers out of the pig waste.”
Both topics had been selected as priorities during planning sessions with the stakeholders of the CATS-Programme in Grenada to realize the Ridge-to-Reef-Approach and to reduce the pollution of waters draining into the Moliniere-Beausejour Marine Protected Area.