Saint Lucia: The Ministry of Agriculture has collaborated with the Inter-American Institution for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to train a cohort from the Canaries Community Improvement Foundation in drone safety and flying.
The organizations have been collaborating since 2020 to build capacity in the use of vetiver grass as a tool for geoengineering and a product for economic growth.
The drone safety training will prepare members to use drones, recently procured by IICA through the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund, to monitor the use of vetiver as a rehabilitation tool.
Drone Team Coordinator and Agricultural Engineer, Joel Ramine, said the initiative is in line with the Ministry of Agriculture’s goal to increase knowledge exchange and capacity development and record-keeping practices among agriculture stakeholders.
National Specialist for the IICA Delegation in Saint Lucia, Brent Theophile, explains that the plan moving forward is to use the drones provided under this initiative to continuously monitor the specifically designated sites to determine whether the installation of vetiver grass was effective.
The training, according to Elijah Charlemagne, Technical Coordinator of the Canaries Community Improvement Foundation, will enable the validation of the interventions that have already been carried out and inform future projects utilizing vetiver grass for slope stabilization and for the rehabilitation of degraded areas.
Upon completion of the theoretical and practical drone training session, the CCIF members will receive a certification in basic training for maintaining, managing and operating drones.