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Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics

by INMED Partnerships for Children, Inc.
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Fund Jamaican Farmers in Climate-Smart Aquaponics
Clarendon system under contruction
Clarendon system under contruction

We are pleased to report that more than 80 established and emerging farmers completed our online IACA training course on INMED Aquaponics in the past year. The training has included technical, business and finance modules (approximately 25 in the past quarter alone). Our INMED Caribbean team also has provided oversight and technical assistance for the construction of two new commercial-size aquaponics systems.

Testing a new design

In Clarendon, we’re introducing a new circular fish tank design to the community aquaponics systems we’re installing in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. Jamaicans are familiar with building round structures out of concrete (for water catchment, etc.) and using fewer inputs compared to square tanks, enabling faster—and more affordable—construction. Round tanks will also help concentrate and more efficiently remove fish waste solids, thereby improving water quality for the fish.

Building partnerships

Our business consulting team continues to coach farmers who have successfully completed our technical and basic entrepreneurship courses in business planning and loan management. We’re also collaborating with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; the Rural Agriculture Development Authority; the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the Jamaica Agricultural Society and other stakeholder to develop a robust market for our agro-entrepreneurs and to ensure sustainability.

Looking ahead

A new cohort of IACA participants is ready to take the 1-week intensive training workshop, beginning next quarter. Our team is excited to expand our program reach to help more Jamaicans achieve food security and economic independence.

 As always, thank you for your interest and support. You are improving lives and local economies in Jamaica!

Circular fish tank -- a new design
Circular fish tank -- a new design
Grow beds under constructiton
Grow beds under constructiton
Grow beds under construction 2
Grow beds under construction 2
Clarendon farmers build first aquaponics system
Clarendon farmers build first aquaponics system

Since our last IACA project report, our agri-business consulting team has been hard at work coaching our aquaponics farmers in business modeling, stakeholder engagement, financing and other aspects of cultivating a successful start-up. Our demonstration systems at the College of Agriculture and Science Education (CASE) are near completion, and several of our aquaponics entrepreneurs have initiated their own operations.

Farmer Marcus Sewell organized a recent site visit for project stakeholders and others to see the new systems at CASE and tour IACA farmer Louis McLaren's aquaponics system. We’re thrilled with their progress!

Our team at INMED Caribbean also is partnering with the national Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC) in Clarendon, which has been hard hit by climate change events, including floods, landslides, droughts and wildfires. This parallel project supports the overall promotion of aquaponics for small-scale farmers across the island by building systems for farming groups in five communities to strengthen food security and income generation. We have held several introductory workshops on aquaponics in those communities, designed systems to accommodate the sites and have initiated construction on two systems.

Stay tuned for more updates as our aquaponics farmers go commercial.

INMED Caribbean leads first workshops in Clarendon
INMED Caribbean leads first workshops in Clarendon
Clarendon farmers welcome INMED Aquaponics
Clarendon farmers welcome INMED Aquaponics

In the first year of this four-year initiative, INMED’s Increasing Access to Climate-Smart Agriculture (IACA) has helped five agri-entrepreneurs launch aquaponics enterprises, with many more working diligently to join them.

With the support of our program funders, GlobalGiving donors and public/private partners, IACA has met its goals and objectives so far, including:

  • The development of a online training course and educational materials
  • Technical, business and financial management training for 55 emerging agri-entrepeneurs
  • Personal coaching sessions on business plan development and loan applications with agri-business consultants
  • Technical training for 43 RADA extension agents to develop local expertise in aquaponics
  • The construction of two aquaponics demonstration systems at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE)
  • Engagement of key stakeholder groups, such as financial institutions, buyers, suppliers, government agencies and universities, to develop the full value chain
  • The development of a loan product tailored to aquaponics enterprise startups, with additional loan products in the works

In 2019, IACA’s core focus will be to deliver more loan options, train credit officers, continue online and workshop training and coaching for entrepreneurs, link farmers with buyers through organized events and agreements, develop an aquaponics certification program with CASE, and establish additional demonstration systems with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. It’s going to be another productive year!

Be sure to read more about our farmers in the farmer update with this report. Follow our farmers at https://inmedcaribbean.org.


Attachments:
CASE launches construction of INMED system
CASE launches construction of INMED system

Since our last report, our team at INMED Caribbean has been building and strengthening program capacity. Our second group of agri-entrepreneurs and farmers began the online and hands-on trainning, while our first group of farmers have begun their coaching sessions with our agri-business consultants to polish their businesss plans.

In October, INMED Caribbean launched a strategic partnership with College of Agrirculture, Science and Education (CASE) to expand capacity of our Increasing Access to Climate-Smart Agriculture program in Jamaica. The partnership involves the construction of a large commercial-scale aquaponics system on its campus in Port Antonio, Portland, to serve as a teaching tool for students studying adaptive agriculture, a resource for research and development, and a source of fresh produce and fish for the college’s meals program. The system also will be used as a demonstration and training tool for INMED’s IACA program, which provides training and technical assistance in aquaponics farming, as well as links to financing and markets, to help small-scale farmers, women and youth start aquaponics enterprises in Jamaica. IACA program partners include the Inter-American Development Bank/Multilateral Investment Fund, Caribbean Development Bank, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC).

As part of the demonstration system, aquaponics experts from INMED Caribbean will train CASE instructors in all aspects of aquaponics farming and will help develop course curricula specifically for CASE students. “While we’re focusing on developing current aquaponics farmers and entrepreneurs through our IACA program, this wonderful strategic partnership with CASE will allow us to expand our reach to future farmers and entrepreneurs among their students,” says Dr. Linda Pfeiffer, CEO of INMED Partnerships for Children, which pioneered the IACA concept.

“We appreciate the partnership between CASE and INMED to add aquaponics as a viable, climate-smart agriculture alternative to address food security and provide economic opportunities to the new generation of farmers in Jamaica,” says Dr. Derrick Deslandes, President of CASE.

The aquaponics system is currently under construction at CASE and is expected to be operational by year-end. INMED Caribbean and CASE recently held a launch event, which included representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank, the Planning Institute of Jamaica and RADA Portland Parish and several farmers participating in INMED’s IACA program.

“The launch of this aquaponics project is an exciting step for agriculture in Jamaica,” says Darran Newman, Division Chief (Ag.), Technical Cooperation Division of the Caribbean Development Bank. “It has the potential to transform the industry for the better and to help lift many citizens out of poverty. The Caribbean Development Bank is pleased to help bring such innovation to the agricultural sector through our support of this partnership between CASE and INMED.”

A big THANK YOU to all our donors supporting this project. You are changing lives (read our latest Follow a Farmer entries). Stay up to date by visiting https://inmedcaribbean.org.

INMED partners with CASE to build IACA capacity
INMED partners with CASE to build IACA capacity

Links:


Attachments:
RADA extension agents receive technical training
RADA extension agents receive technical training

Since our last update, we've had many exciting developments. Our IACA program was featured at the 2018 Cracking the Nut Conference in Antigua, Guatemala, where INMED was among the top innovators in climate-change adaptation approaches. The Jamaica Observer also ran a 2-page feature and editorial endorsement of our IACA program. 

Train-the-Trainer Sessions

INMED Caribbean has held a second train-the-trainer workshop for Rural Agriculture Development Authority (RADA) extension agents, who will provide ongoing technical assistance to farmers participating in INMED’s Increasing Access to Climate-Smart Agriculture (IACA) program in Jamaica. The first class of farmers completed their online prequalification course, participated in an intensive training workshop, and are now receiving technical assistance to learn how to construct, operate and maintain their own commercial aquaponics systems.

Farmer Training Commences

Marcus was one of 20 farmers to participate in INMED Caribbean’s first three-day training workshop in mid-July. The training, delivered by INMED aquaponics experts, included two days of classroom lectures and one day of hands-on participatory education at an INMED aquaponics system at the Knockalva Agricultural School. He discovered aquaponics on YouTube and has been experimenting with a home system for two years. When he learned of INMED’s IACA program in Jamaica, he was eager to register.

“My expectation of the program was to gain more in-depth knowledge about aquaponics and how I can scale my home system into a commercial system that can meet the demands of restaurants, caterers, and hotels,” says Marcus. After completing INMED’s online training, h joined other fledgling and traditional farmers for a deeper, hands-on dive into the innovative farming technique. “This training has opened my mind to the next level of how I can create a commercial system for myself as a startup business.”

Another important aspect of the training is connecting farmers who are in different stages of entrepreneurship. “As I’ve gone through the INMED program, I’ve met like-minded people and have started to network with them to share information,” says Marcus. The farmers have formed a Whatsapp group to encourage each other and share best practices.

Next Steps

INMED has been working with the Development Bank of Jamaica and local financial institutions to provide IACA program participants access to affordable financing to start aquaponics enterprises and facilitate loan repayment. Farmers are now working with INMED agribusiness consultants to polish their business plans, complete loan applications and create presentations for their meetings with loan officers.

Soon, INMED Caribbean also will have a new venue for participatory training. The College of Agriculture, Science and Education recently broke ground on a commercial INMED aquaponics system on its campus in Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica. The new system will be used for IACA training as well as for CASE’s adaptive agriculture program.

In the meantime, the INMED Aquaponics Whatsapp group is abuzz with spirited exchanges, like this one from farmer named Norman: “INMD has shown us the way… It is now our job to till the soil, may it be gravel, clay or dirt. Our job right now is to get the right pH balance and oxygenate our mission forward by feeding and teaching our nation what we have learned.”

Their enthusiasm is contagious! A big THANK YOU to all our donors and supporters who are helping us transform lives in Jamaica! Please help us promote this program by sharing our Global Giving link and updates on social media. 

Links for More Information

Be sure to visit https://inmedcaribbean.org for more updates.

Click here to follow our farmers!

Follow us on Facebook

Read the latest article on IACA in the Jamaica Observer!

Click here to read a big enedorsement of IACA!

  

Day 1 farmer training
Day 1 farmer training
Day 2 farmer training
Day 2 farmer training
Day 2 farmer training - planting seedlings
Day 2 farmer training - planting seedlings
Day 3 training - certificate presentation
Day 3 training - certificate presentation
INMED
INMED's Dr. Linda Pfeiffer & Kristin Callahan
RADA extension agent
RADA extension agent

Attachments:
 

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Organization Information

INMED Partnerships for Children, Inc.

Location: Sterling, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @inmedchildren
Project Leader:
Mary-Lynne Lasco
Sterling, VA United States
$7,183 raised of $30,000 goal
 
137 donations
$22,817 to go
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