The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs continues to broaden its scope to boost rain water harvesting across Antigua and Barbuda.
Director of Agriculture Jedidiah Maxime said that apart from the importance of increasing water supply for general agricultural use, adequate water supply is also a big factor for the Agricultural Technology Cooperation Project between China and Antigua and Barbuda which is to fully come on stream shortly.
The Agriculture Director said that the Ministry’s recently acquired Long Boom Excavator has already done a substantial amount of work at Carlisle, cleaning several ponds and mini dams.
Based on a set schedule, Maxime said that the excavator would be assigned to the various agricultural districts to continue similar operation.
Maxime noted that just by cleaning these natural resources, the capacity of some water catchments can be increased by as much as 50%.
“Ponds by 50%, mini dams by about 30%; so this is a big focus for the ministry at this time,”Maxime added.
He continued, “We recognized that cleaning is an important component of increasing our capacity because we have existing dams and ponds that have become overgrown and silted up so by cleaning, we are actually increasing capacity. If you look at the east country pond with the little rain that we had the other day, that is what is taking place out in the districts,” Maxime explained.
Maxime added that the level of work regarding increasing water capacity will be even further enhanced when a team of Cubans, including hydrologists, arrive here shortly to provide among other things, technical assistance in locating suitable areas where more mini dams can be constructed.
“Over the next 3- 5 years, I would want to think that our water capacity would be significantly increased. We would have done some estimation of the water needs to expand our production by 2,000 acres and we are looking at in excess of 500 million gallons, maybe in excess of a billion gallons, which would be equivalent to the size of another pot works; that’s the kind of water we need to have to keep sustainable production at the level that we are proposing,” Maxime stated.
He said that the ministry is also looking at other options of having adequate water for agricultural purposes to include water desalination utilizing solar energy.