FAO Assisting With Irrigation and Drought Management Systems

Photo: Claudia Gardner Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Sub-regional Director (ad interim), Dr. Lystra Fletcher-Paul, at the recent Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbea, in Montego Bay.

Story Highlights

  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is investing in irrigation and drought management systems in Jamaica in order for the country to respond to the unpredictable rainfall patterns, as a result of the impact of climate change.
  • In an interview with JIS News, Subregional Director (ad interim) of the FAO, Dr. Lystra Fletcher-Paul, said the Government is moving to implement sustainable and resilient agricultural technologies to combat the effects of global warming.
  • “In times of climate change, where there is reduced availability of water, it’s likely that you will have more drought conditions. The CDB is working with the FAO to look at the whole water sector in Jamaica and develop water irrigation plans,” Dr. Fletcher-Paul noted.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is investing in irrigation and drought management systems in Jamaica in order for the country to respond to the unpredictable rainfall patterns, as a result of the impact of climate change.

The Water for Agriculture project is one activity that the FAO is pushing to mitigate drought caused by global warming.

In an interview with JIS News, Subregional Director (ad interim) of the FAO, Dr. Lystra Fletcher-Paul, said the Government is moving to implement sustainable and resilient agricultural technologies to combat the effects of global warming.

She pointed out that the FAO and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) have provided funding to establish a rainwater harvesting project in Jamaica consisting of 11 pilot projects in South St. Elizabeth and Manchester, under the broad Water for Agriculture programme.

“In times of climate change, where there is reduced availability of water, it’s likely that you will have more drought conditions. The CDB is working with the FAO to look at the whole water sector in Jamaica and develop water irrigation plans,” Dr. Fletcher-Paul noted.

“We are looking at pilots for implementation of rainwater harvesting in the country, and we are working with the National Irrigation Development Plan to ensure that implementation of the various technologies is done,” she added.

Dr. Fletcher-Paul said that the recent FAO conference in Montego Bay has opened doors for several new negotiations and development prospects for agriculture to address areas where food security will be threatened as a result of water scarcity.

She further explained that the conference looked at a number of climate-smart technologies, and recommendations were made to improve the irrigation systems in Jamaica to sustain and improve the agricultural sector.

She said drought conditions caused by the changing climatic conditions and more frequent extreme weather events have caused loss of income for farmers, which has negatively affected the livelihoods of rural people and the economy.

Dr. Fletcher-Paul noted that policies are being introduced to counter climate change in agriculture, and added that there are also plans in place to improve the knowledge of protected agriculture as another important area to focus on in Jamaica in the coming years.

She pointed out that the use of alternative sources, such as green energy, to combat the effects of climate change and improve the work the FAO is doing in agriculture is also a key interest area that will be developed in Jamaica in the near future.

“These recommendations are profitable for Jamaica and good in terms of the impact on food security, and good in terms of the impact on the environment,” Dr. Fletcher-Paul said.

She is encouraging the public to get involved, noting that their partnership is a key message that will impact the outcome of the plans and projects introduced.

“We cannot do this work without working with partners and it’s not just the development banks. Farmers have to get involved, supporting institutions, government and even the private sector,” Dr. Fletcher-Paul said.

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