IWECO project a participatory process
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
by GIS

The eventual success of a new ecosystems management project is hinged on farmer participation.

The project, Integrating Water, Land, and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (IWEco), seeks to mitigate poor biophysical conditions caused by unsustainable land practices.

IWEco Project Coordinator, Aretha Darcheville, said community participation is important and encouraged.

“What we’ve done so far is we’ve had a huge inception workshop within the community to get their buy in. We’ve had a lot of activities including a grand launch, and we’ve hired people from the community and trained people from the community to do farm assessments.”

The project includes four components: creating livelihoods; capacity building; documenting best practices; and the rehabilitation of lands.

Dr. Donatian Gustave, Research Officer in the Forests and Lands Department said the land rehabilitation component will offer farmers not only the ability to protect their lands, but also the ability to add value to them.

“We hope to supply farmers with not just forest trees, but a greater mix of fruit trees, and it’s for free. So farmers can see they’re adding value to their landscape, not just protecting it. We’re looking at an integrated approach. Forestry’s end is not the profit, but the diversity of the species, which is a win-win situation for the farmer. The farmer is looking at economics. So when we have a diversity of species, as you can imagine, you will have a more resilient climate and microclimate.”

Under the project, farmers can freely choose the plant crops used to rehabilitate their lands, and will receive customized restoration plans.