Allan Jung/MetroWest Daily News/AP/File
Water barely trickles over the spillway at Louisa Lake on July 15, 2016, in Milford, Mass. Much of the Northeast is in the grips of a drought that has led to water restrictions, wrought havoc on gardens, and raised concerns among farmers.

Caribbean region to see increased drought, UN says

The Caribbean region includes seven of the world’s 36 water-stressed countries in the world. A UN report found that the region is expected to see an increase in the intensity and frequency of droughts due to climate change. 

Recently, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report on the impact of climate change on agriculture in the Caribbean region. The report found that the region is expected to see an increase in the intensity and frequency of droughts due to climate change. 

The Caribbean region includes seven of the world’s 36 water-stressed countries in the world. Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda are classified by the FAO as water-scarce because they have less than 1,000 m3 freshwater resources per capita.

According to the report, one of the main challenges is the low water availability, which affects the agriculture sector and the water resources. The region also experiences a large number of bush fires due to the drought-like conditions.

“Drought ranks as the single most common cause of severe food shortages in developing countries, so this is a key issue for Caribbean food security,” says Deep Ford, FAO Regional Coordinator in the Caribbean.

The FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva explains that extreme weather events can damage the agriculture sector in the island nations because they are becoming stronger and more frequent due to climate change. “In few places is the impact of climate change so evident as in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). For SIDS, climate change is not just an urgent issue. It is a question of survival,” says Graziano da Silva.

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the region is vulnerable to the negative impact of climate change, even though it contributes less greenhouse gas emissions compared to other areas.

The Inter-American Development Bank says that climate change caused aroundUS$136 billion in damages in the region between 1990 and 2008.

“This means that the Caribbean region can be taken back 20 to 30 years because of the issue of climate change,” says Juan M. Cheaz Pelaez, the senior program coordinator for Agricultural Policy and Value Chains at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

Climate events have led to social, economic, and environmental damage, according toCheaz. Droughts can decrease the crop yields and productivity, and affect the health of poultry and livestock.   

A recent project by the University of the West Indies examined the impact of climate change on tomato and cocoa production in Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica. Researchers used crop-climate models for tomato and cocoa plants to determine the resilience of the crops to heat stress and droughts. The results of the community-level surveys showed that around 62 percent of farmers experienced a significant crop failure during the past ten years, and cocoa farmers indicated that the largest threat was drought in Trinidad and Tobago.  

According to Cheaz, a single climate event can affect the livelihoods of farmers. As a result, the agriculture sector should be resilient in order to deal with the impact of climate change. 

Governments should work to develop solutions designed to adapt to climate change, according to Jethro Greene, the chief coordinator of the Caribbean Farmers Network. Greene suggests that climate change will lead to an increase in severe climate events if countries do not develop policies to build resilient communities and promote sustainable agricultural practices in the region.

The report also highlights some of the issues related to drought management, which include limited funding, weak governance, and ineffective coordination of land management.

“These can be overcome by strong political will that encourages participation in policy and planning processes by all actors in the social strata, enabling the sustainable development of water supplies to face the upcoming challenges,” says Ford.  

This story originally appeared on Food Tank.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Caribbean region to see increased drought, UN says
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today