Crop modelling expert for UWI summer programme

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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In a move to help the region's agricultural sector adapt to climate change and increase the number of Caribbean professionals and institutions involved in the field of crop modelling, The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Government of Jamaica, through the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), are staging a summer training programme in the subject.

The first workshop is currently ongoing, with the second, more advanced instalment scheduled for next week, July 23-27, at UWI, Mona.

It will feature pre-eminent scholar from the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Florida and professor of agricultural and biological engineering Professor Gerrit Hoogenboom. Caribbean lecturers, meanwhile, will include Professor Michael Taylor from the Department of Physics and the Climate Studies Group, Mona, and livestock specialist and senior lecturer at UWI, St Augstine, Cicero Lallo.

Climate change (with its longer dry seasons and droughts, intense storms and generally more extreme weather events), along with variations in climate, have significantly altered the environment in which crops grow and in which livestock develop. Crop and livestock impact modelling — which is relatively new to the Caribbean — uses technology to develop and test multiple climate and weather scenarios, validates them using field data, and then explores expected impacts and possible options for adaptation in farming.

The workshops' target audience includes: agronomists, extension officers, farmers, researchers (including graduate students), agro-meteorologists, sectoral impact modellers, and other stakeholders from across the region.

Both workshops are supported by the PPCR/Climate Investment Funds through the Inter-American Development Bank.

To date, two PPCR projects – the UWI-implemented PPCR Caribbean's Regional Track, and the GOJ-implemented Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanisms project in Jamaica — have provided initial support to a representative of the Climate Studies Group, Mona, to pursue training in crop modelling and to train some regional stakeholders. It also follows up support to facilitate the participation of Professor Hoogenbooom, other overseas trainers, and select local participants in the workshops.

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