ICTs for Development

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Video and science in the service of agriculture

April 8, 2015
  • Caribbean

Video is a useful communication tool for promoting technological advances in agriculture and rural development in the Caribbean. Persuaded of this fact, CTA joined forces with a number of partners in research, higher education and the film industry to organise a science and video competition which included mentorship for young professionals. This has resulted in about thirty high-quality videos and animated films to feast your eyes upon.

4 copyThe winning video from the finals of the second "Caribbean Science and Agriculture Film and Video Competition", held in Trinidad and Tobago in August 2014, is set in a sepia-toned atmosphere in St. Lucia. A young girl who has hurt herself cries out to her grandmother for help. The grandmother is able to heal this small wound with a miracle remedy: coconut oil. But the coconut has so much more potential than that, as the video, in a little over 5 minutes, makes perfectly clear. 

Some thirty short videos and animated films about 3 to 5 minutes long have been broadcast on the Internet as part of the competition organised by CTA, in collaboration with the Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (CCST), the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI), the University of the West Indies (UWI), FLOW Trinidad and the Trinidad & Tobago Film Company.

Picturing the added value of local foods

This competition, on the theme of "Adding Value to Local Foods for Food and Nutrition Security", involved 84 competitors from 12 countries. The winners were:

  • 1 copy1st Place: ‘The Fruit of Life’ by Kareem Larcher and Jelani Paul, St Lucia.
  • 2nd Place: ‘Breadfruit Versatile’ by Randy McLaren, Julene Robinson, Veronique Smith and Brian Johnson, Jamaica.
  • 3rd Place: ‘Captain V’ by Kemar McInnis, Tannecia James, Marc James and Cleon Ewers, Jamaica.

The films, created by young Caribbean videographers between 18 and 35 years-old, portray Caribbean fruits such as coconuts and breadfruit; livestock including fish and wild meat; and production systems such as hydroponics (growing plants without soil) and conservation agriculture. The themes addressed include; nutritional value, health, well-being, organic food, Caribbean cuisine – topics of interest to the entire population, and not just farmers.

The films produced are effective tools to attract the media to make the link between science and technology, and agricultural and rural development, and to improve the image of agriculture. Due to the format, the professional production (each film is skilfully scripted with quality filming) and the method of broadcasting chosen, they can reach a large audience. They will be widely distributed to media houses, ministries and development partners in the Caribbean.

Training and mentorship, the key to success

The quality of the videos is in large part due to a training course organised by the CTA/CCST led partnership, as part of the competition, from 7 to 11 April in Port of Spain, Trinidad. This course attracted 60 team members from Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The course involved comprehensive training on different subjects related to video and animation (content development, script writing, photography techniques, drawing, etc.).

On completion of the training, each production team was mentored by a pair of experts (one in science and one in video) to produce a video or animated film for the competition finals. CTA, partners and young professionals are pleased with the end products.

Watch the awarded short film "The Fruit of Life", directed by Kareem Larcher and Jelani Paul, Saint Lucia, 2014.