Farmers will now be able to learn more about what is happening in their business thanks to a new project from the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MALHE).
With funding support from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the ministry has purchased the AGRIVI agriculture data management platform.
According to Dr. Kevin Crooks, MALHE’s Agriculture Development Specialist, AGRIVI will streamline the data collection process and connect the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Quality Infrastructure Division, Statistics Department and food distributors on island.
“The software will enable our technical officers to better support local farmers through the use of satellite imagery and climate analysis that can identify various challenges. These include, but are not limited to the following: crop water stress; vegetation health; and potential crop-specific pests and diseases. Farm level weather forecasting will also be provided, which is critical due to Montserrat’s distinct micro-climates,” explained Dr. Crooks.
“The software’s ability to provide real-time data through forecasting harvest weights and times supports the planning and procurement decisions of local food distributors. In addition, the app improves traceability by providing reports that contain production practices, crop nutrition values and farm pictures for any goods that distributors purchase, which will demonstrate the care that our farmers take in producing,” he added.
Supermarkets and other distributors will be able to contact farmers directly as the platform will have a registry of farmers.
Over the next two months, training for stakeholders will be undertaken and it is expected to be fully operational and in use by July, said Dr. Crooks.
Implementing a platform such as AGRIVI is part of the ministry’s wider intention to integrate Information Technology (I.T) into its service strategy to support the growth of the agriculture industry on Montserrat while setting an example for the region.