Agricultural Innovation at its finest!

It has been quite a long time since I’ve highlighted the activities of the Agribusiness Society. So it’s fitting to explain our most recent event.

One of the aims of the ABS is to ensure student development. Therefore each year the society organizes a  Study Tour to another island within the region for interested Graduate and undergraduate students. It is quite to a feat to organize such an event however it has been successful for the past two years.

The first was held in  St. Vincent and the Grenadines where the students were exposed first hand to value added agriculture and agro-processing in addition to completing a value chain analysis on several commodities. The second was held in Suriname and Guyana. The students executed a group project comparing the fish landing sites of Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago and their readiness for export in addition to examining the full scale mechanization of the rice, banana and sugar industries.

The most recent was a visit to Jamaica to examine the pig, beef, small ruminant and dairy industries. Once again the venture was a success. On events such as these the students try to be sensitized to as much information as possible. Therefore it is common to explore other sectors in the agri-industry.

This post highlights the innovations and simple technologies/methods that the students experience at the Adams Valley Greenhouse/Shade-house operation in Jamaica. These images are proof that farming is much more than just planting a seed. You must be forward thinking, efficient and innovative to succeed!

The Adams Valley Shade House Operation lay at the bottom of a hill. Therefore its owner placed these tarpaulins for rainwater harvesting and storage to the top. He can then use a smaller pump that requires less energy (less gas) to pump the water out after which gravity then carries the water down to his crops. As you can see here, in several instances, his set up and operation costs are drastically reduced.

Additional rainwater storage is strategically placed lower down the hill. These deposits are also home to tilapia whose waste add nutrients to the water before it is fed to the crops. More importantly to prevent wastage of feed, the owner created these simple devices consisting of underwater trays and recycled plastic bottles to keep the feed at mid level in the water. Therefore the fish can feed when they please and the feed itself does not sink to the bottom. The owner indicated that there is no guarantee that the fish will eat the feed when it sinks to the bottom.

The owner decided to build his own shade house. As the owner of the operation he is aware of his landscape and the scale he wishes to achieve. Therefore he purchased his own inputs and built the shade-houses to his specifications thereby resolving the issues that may arise with such production such as overheating. He bent the metal himself, granted he has a engineering background. This also greatly reduced the operation’s set up costs

As his operation mostly consists of shade-houses, they are at risk to pest build up over time. In order to reduce costs and prevent the negative effects of pesticide use. the owner places his soil in a nylon netting -like material and boils it. You read correctly. He boils the soil in water as you see above. The heat and stem actually sterilizes the soil, leaving it free of parasites and other pests.


  1. It brings great joy to know that all these innovation in agriculture is happening right in the region. The implementation of modern agricultural practices with science and engineering being applied on farms, should surely shift society’s ideology on the farmer being the practitioner of only putting seeds in the ground to grow plants. While he is much more than that. He comes up with innovation, implements it on his farm, adopts technology, transfers it to other farmers and comes up with significant research topics for researchers to develop upon.

  2. Pingback: Antiguan Aquaponics! « technology4agri

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s