As the effects of climate change become progressively rife, the importance of climate-resilient farmland is necessary to not only ensure the food security of nations, but global well-being. Frequently the most impacted by climate change are the countries least equipped with the resources and knowledge necessary to protect themselves from natural disasters, leaving developing countries vulnerable to food insecurity and drought. Because of this, the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA+) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) dispatched the Garden Pool team to Suriname to alleviate crop stressors and hold instructional seminars which teach farmers and students how to strengthen their farms’ climate resilience. Within the span of a week, the GP team held a series of seminars and provided hands-on support for farmers and agriculture students in Suriname.
With the goal of equipping farmers and students with the knowledge and skills necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change, Garden Pool focused on addressing farmland sensitivity to weather phenomena and the saltwater intrusion problem issue, both which had negatively affected the health of crops planted on this land. To strengthen farmers’ knowledge of climate-resilient agricultural practices, the GP team taught a seminar on micro-ingratiation systems and irrigation methods which introduced new types of irrigation to farmers who utilized traditional rainwater-irrigation methods. In switching to a mechanical irrigation system, farmers maintain greater control of their crops and farmland while still using collected rainwater, thus increasing food stability without trivializing water source stability. Alongside the introduction of irrigation systems, the group of approximately 50 farmers were taught how to harvest rainwater, install the irrigation systems, and prevent natural disaster damages, further equipping them to address any issues that surface in the future.
Providing hands-on support as well as informational, the GP team also addressed the increasing issue of saltwater intrusions within farmland. This intrusion not only contaminated available groundwater, but decreased farmland utility, as plants struggle to grow, if sprout at all, in land inundated with salt. To decrease these issues, Garden Pool introduced a pond with an installed pond-liner which prevented saltwater from leaching into clean groundwater. By installing the pond and preventing saltwater contamination, water and food sources became more reliable.
Of course, Garden Pool is dedicated to providing resources for long term advancement, and in order to do this for Suriname, the GP team utilized local materials and taught residents of Suriname how to maintain these irrigation systems, allowing them complete control of the finished project. Residents of Suriname can continue to utilize the space and, if a component breaks or tears, materials for repairs are local and accessible.
Though the farmers have more control and greater crop yields from the irrigation systems as installed, farmers could later choose to install a full climate smart farm, with the irrigation system and pond serving as the first step of the build process.