Jamaica News: Fifty farmers from Cascade in St. Ann are benefiting from improved access to irrigation, through a $29-million community-based agricultural pilot project.
The three-year-old initiative was implemented by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, through the local office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and was financed by the Government of Japan as part of the Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (JCCCP).
Each of the beneficiaries – 35 men and 15 women – received a multipurpose shed that is gutted to harvest water in 1,000-gallon tanks, while providing the flexibility for storage and shelter.
This is to work in tandem with drip-irrigation systems for the various crops being produced on the farms across the area.
In addition, the farmers were also involved in an extensive training programme in climate-smart agriculture that exposed them to water resource management, irrigation technologies and climate change adaptation strategies, among other sustainable agricultural practices.
At a closing-out ceremony for the project at the Frazer Church of God of Prophecy in the community on Tuesday, October 15, Chief Technical Director at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), Dr. Roy McNeil, said he is confident that the project will have a positive outcome for agriculture in the community.
“Coming out of this project, we look forward to the increased production of potatoes, lettuce, carrots, and yam, to name a few, as we strive towards achieving Jamaica’s food security through a sustainable agricultural sector,” Dr. McNeil explained.
He also lauded the Government of Japan for assisting in enhancing Jamaica’s capacity in climate change adaptation and mitigation, and is urging local communities to get involved in climate-smart mitigation activities.
“On behalf of the Ministry, I would like to encourage communities across Jamaica to seriously examine ways in which they can develop their own community-based climate-change mitigation systems. These can be water harvesting and storage systems, not just for agricultural but other uses,” Dr. McNeil explained.
“I urge our churches, schools and other community leadership groups to join the national tree-planting initiatives and to play your own part in our sustainability efforts,” he added.
For his part, President of the Cascade Farmers Group, Derval McLean, said that farmers are benefiting significantly from the project.
“First time, we had to travel about quarter mile to a mile to a pond to bring water to the farms, and now with the drip-irrigation system, we have reduced the water usage significantly,” Mr. McLean said.
“It has also helped to increase the farm yield by about 50 to 70 per cent right now with this project. We greatly appreciate it and we want to say thanks to the Japanese Government, UNDP and Jamaica 4-H Clubs,” he added.
The JCCCP, which is being implemented in eight countries in the Caribbean, aims to assist countries to enhance their capacities and capabilities in climate-change adaptation and mitigation, through the development of policies and application of low-emission, climate-resilient technologies.
Source: JIS News