The Agriculture Resource Management (ARM) Project was implemented in 2008 following the closure of the sugar industry to foster agricultural development and sustainability by building infrastructure, improving soil, water and land management and providing farmers with technical support and training. The ARM Project is funded by the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) and executed by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Work carried out under the ARM Project has done much to create stable environmental conditions. Main access farm roads have been maintained in areas where there was considerable road erosion that created gullies, exposed water lines from mountain sources and caused damage to vehicles. In some instances, new roads were cut or reshaped and earth storm drains constructed to direct drainage flows off the road and into sluices. Debris in ghauts has been cleared and in some locations where the soil was washed from under the train tracks used by the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, the ARM Project installed gabion baskets and planted vetiver grass to protect the exposed soil.
Harvesting water to irrigate crops particularly during the dry season is an important component of the ARM Project. By the end of 2014, 13 dams with a storage capacity of 1,000,000 gallons of water each were built in eight locations. In addition, 29 ponds which each store approximately 75,000 gallons of water were constructed in nine locations. Together, the dams and storage ponds serve over 50 farm families, farm co-operatives or groups. The harvested water allows farmers to plant and reap crops that are difficult to cultivate during the dry season (e.g. tomatoes, cabbage, sweet peppers, carrots and okras), thus supplying the domestic market with these local vegetables year round.
Farmers are being provided with the protected and controlled environment of greenhouses in which to produce their crops, and have been trained in the use of greenhouse technology. The hybrid plants grown in the greenhouses are watered and fed nutrients using a drip irrigation system. Under these controlled conditions, the plants are expected to thrive and produce a high yield. As of February 2015, 37 greenhouses had been erected in communities around the island. Storage ponds have been constructed adjacent to 26 of these greenhouses and the collected water is piped to these greenhouse farms.
SIDF initially committed over EC$10,000,000.00 in the form of a grant to fund activities of the ARM Project. The Project has since been expanded to serve even more farm communities with additional grant funds of EC$7,456,843.00 from SIDF.