May 14, 2018

Construction Begins at CASE

Hands-on training
Hands-on training

Since our last report in March 2018, our team has completed the development of an online training and loan prequalification course by Resonate Learning Consultants. The course is now posted on INMED Caraibbean’s web site: https://inmedcaribbean.org.

The online training course, which is the first step for farmers participating in INMED’s Increasing Access to Climate-Smart Agriculture (IACA) program, was beta tested by extension agents with Jamaica’s Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA). The training includes technical information about aquaponics, how to apply for a loan and how to write a business plan.

In early March and May, our INMED Caribbean team delivered the first aquaponics training workshops for future trainers from RADA, who provide support to farmers throughout the country. The workshops included classroom training as well as a hands-on demonstration at INMED’s aquaponics system at Knockalva Technical High School.

We are pleased to announce that INMED Caribbean also has partnered with the College of Agriculture Science and Education (CASE) to build a commercial-scale aquaponics system that will be used for IACA program training and education for students studying adaptive agriculture at the college. The system is currently under construction.

In addition, INMED Caribbean continues to develop partnerships with local banks and financial institutions to make affordable loans available to IACA program participants to cover the cost of construction crews, supply inputs and materials needed to build and begin operating their commercial aquaponic systems. Our team also continues to develop links to future markets for program participants.

Prospective program participants are invited to register online at https://inmedcaribbean.org/aquaponics-registration/. A brochure and fact sheets about the IACA program also are available for download at https://inmedcaribbean.org.

We are looking forwarding to starting our farmer training this summer, and we are grateful for your support of our efforts to improve food security, climate-change resilience and economic opportunities for smallholder farmers, women, youth and people with disabilities in Jamaica.

For more information about this program, please contact Kristin Callahan at kcallahan@inmed.org.

Future aquaponics farmers
Future aquaponics farmers
Classroom training for RADA extension agents
Classroom training for RADA extension agents

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Feb 20, 2018

Training Begins for IACA Program

Inspecting grow beds at demonstration facility.
Inspecting grow beds at demonstration facility.

Since our last report in December 2017, our team has been working with training technology designers, Resonate Learning Consultants, to develop an online training course in aquaponics. Online training is the first step for farmers participating in INMED’s Increasing Access to Climate-Smart Agriculture (IACA) program. The training includes technical information about aquaponics, how to apply for a loan and how to write a business plan. The online training course will be pilot tested in February and March 2018.

In early March, our INMED Caribbean team will deliver the first aquaponics training workshop for future trainers, Jamaican extension agents from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) who provide support to farmers throughout the country. The workshop will include classroom training as well as a hands-on demonstration with INMED’s aquaponics system. The RADA agents will play a key role in providing critical feedback on our online and workshop training program and ensuring the IACA program is sustainable by providing ongoing technical assistance for farmers in the future.

In addition to the training activities, INMED Caribbean is working with local banks and financial institutions to make loans available to IACA program participants. These low-interest loans will help farmers provide the necessary investments to start their aquaponics businesses, including covering costs for construction crews, supply inputs and materials needed to build and begin operating the commercial aquaponic systems.

Several smallholder farmers and other individuals have already registered for the IACA program. After completing the online training, which will be available to the public in April, farmers will participate in their first aquaponics workshop in May.

There is still much to do to scale this project to reach more farmers in Jamaica and beyond. We are grateful for your support of our efforts to improve food security, climate-change resilience and economic opportunities for smallholder farmers, women, youth and people with disabilities.

Planning for hands-on training demonstration.
Planning for hands-on training demonstration.
Planting seedlings in clean grow bed.
Planting seedlings in clean grow bed.
Healthy fish swimming in tank.
Healthy fish swimming in tank.
Harvest-ready fish for sale & consumption.
Harvest-ready fish for sale & consumption.
New solar panel to generate power for the pumps.
New solar panel to generate power for the pumps.
INMED Caribbean Aquaponics Specialist Paul Barrett
INMED Caribbean Aquaponics Specialist Paul Barrett
Preparing for classroom instruction.
Preparing for classroom instruction.
Dec 5, 2017

INMED Access to Climate Smart Aquaponics

Training session
Training session

After a successful and very well attended project launch event in Kingston, Jamaica, INMED has been working hard behind the scenes to get all the pieces in place for rollout of Aquaponics project loans to small farmers by March 2018. 

In October, we finailzed most of the documentation needed for the various multi-stakeholder project funders.  In November, we met with the financial institutions and many of the potential buyers and input suppliers who will participate on the project.  We secured the lending terms that will be applied to the project from the financial institutions, we secured participation from the input suppliers who will now have on-hand, the input the farmers will need to start and run their aquaponics farms (currently negotiating ways for the farmers to benefit from in-bulk purchases), and we spoke to several of the potential buyers who are eagerly awaiting the aquaponics produce. 

In November, we also began working with external media consultats who will be hepling INMED to put together the online training materials covering, 1) the technical aspects of aquaponics, 2) business planning and marketing and 3) what is a loan-financing. We will be using this material, in addition to the INMED Aquaponcis manual (currently being finalized) and several annual hands-on training workshops to prepare the farmers for successful aquaponics agri-businesses.

Additionally, through the funding from stakeholders INMED will be on the ground with the farmers for 3 years providing as needed technial assistance. We will do whatever we can to make sure the farmer's agri-businnesses are successful and their loans are repaid.

There are many costs however, that the funders do not cover and for which your help would go a long way in ensuring the success of this exciting and beneficial program.

INMED would like to build in greater sustainability to the program. To do this we need to establish an INMED Aquaponics Training Institute where we would provide access to bulk purchased fish feed and hybrid seeds which are difficult to get and very expensive in Jamaica. We would also provide as needed technical assistance and workshop training on-going (post project). The goal is to not just start a project and leave once the project is over. This method has proven time and time again to be ineffective. INMED would like to stay on the ground and available to make sure the project and the farmers' ability to be climate resilient, generate an income and feed their families is sustained. PLEASE  HELP INMED BE THE SUPPORT ARM FOR CLIMATE RESILIENT FARMING in JAMAICA!

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