1 Dec 2016


An innovative case history on the topic of “water” and drought management is the winning project of the “BCFN, YES!” 2016 award. The project was presented by Anne-Teresa Birthwright and Shaneica Lester from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, and it was selected as the best of BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions), the international competition open to young researchers under the age of 35 and promoted by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) Foundation, which put together a research grant worth € 20,000. 

This research project focused on drought management in the most arid parts of Jamaica. To address this issue, the authors designed a “curriculum”, as part of the Knowledge Transfer Curriculum, an educational project that in this case focuses on helping farmers by providing advice to improve their water conservation, irrigation and water – crop interaction strategies. 

The Jamaican project, whose goals were to improve farmers’ capacities in managing drought, successfully boosted local food production and guaranteed food security in the selected areas. Based on the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach developed by the FAO, this project was aimed at farmers in the parish of St. Elizabeth who, through a participatory teaching method, managed to share experiences and know-how over the years to solve problems in the local food production system. 

Thanks to meetings and lessons with experts, or through predefined guidelines, farmers are still learning drought management techniques and how to cope with rainfall dependency.

BCFN YES! is one of the many initiatives that BCFN has set up to contribute concretely to protect our  Planet. It aims at supporting researchers (who already hold or are completing a PhD) during the early stages of their career, inviting them to apply on an individual basis or as multidisciplinary and transnational teams with a maximum of three members per team. The competition encourages the participation of teams from different disciplines and different countries whose combined expertise will result in an innovative approach.

This year’s applications to the seventh edition of the competition are open until June 14, 2018 at 11:59 CEST, to allow young PhD undergraduates and postgraduate researchers to present their research project. Up to three € 20,000 research grants will be awarded to projects that are creative, innovative and impactful.

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