Farmers Encouraged to Practise Climate-Smart Agriculture

Photo: Dave Reid Minister without Portfolio in the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson (left), in discussion with LASCO Releaf Environmental Awareness Programme (REAP) Head, Stephen Newland, at the sub-launch of the programme at the St. Jago Cathedral Preparatory School in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, on January 24.

Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, is encouraging farmers to practise climate-smart agriculture (CSA), to help grow the sector in a sustainable way.
  • Mr. Hutchinson said such a practice is necessary, especially in light of the onset of extreme weather conditions and the outbreak of plant pests and diseases, which result in billions of dollars in losses to the sector.
  • He noted that through the Ministry, several programmes have been managed or implemented to mitigate the impact of climate change on the agricultural sector.

Minister without Portfolio in the Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, is encouraging farmers to practise climate-smart agriculture (CSA), to help grow the sector in a sustainable way.

CSA refers to agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, enhances resilience or adaptation, reduces greenhouse gases where possible, and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals.

Mr. Hutchinson said such a practice is necessary, especially in light of the onset of extreme weather conditions and the outbreak of plant pests and diseases, which result in billions of dollars in losses to the sector.

The Minister was speaking at the sub-launch of the fifth LASCO Releaf Environmental Awareness Programme (REAP) Competition, held at the St. Jago Cathedral Preparatory School in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, on January 24.

He noted that through the Ministry, several programmes have been managed or implemented to mitigate the impact of climate change on the agricultural sector.

“Through these initiatives, we have trained 2,300 farmers in better soil conservation methods; installed over 107 climate-smart gravity drip irrigation systems; and provided capacity building for farmers in relation to CSA,” he said.

The Minister commended LASCO for its foresight in initiating the programme, which is designed to promote environmental preservation among 130 primary, preparatory and junior high school students.

It encourages tree planting, recycling, energy conservation, school gardening, and well-kept school and community environments.

Through the programme, students have been involved in the establishment of over 100 school gardens and the planting of 15,000 trees.

Concerning the school gardens, Mr. Hutchinson noted that when managed properly, they can generate direct economic benefits by producing crops and livestock for sale to school canteens, other staff members and neighbouring restaurants.

“The profits gained can then be used for the garden’s maintenance and the purchase of other inputs,” he said.

Mr. Hutchinson also noted that the school gardens provide an excellent training ground for potential young farmers and can contribute to Government’s school feeding and breakfast programme.

For her part, LASCO Brand Manager, Nicole Masters, said the company is committed to saving the environment.

“We must all play our part. I urge you all to respect your environment,” she told students and teachers at the launch of the programme.

LASCO REAP Programme Director, Stephen Newland, said 20 high schools and churches will also take part in a similar competition.  The LASCO Affiliated Companies have committed over $30 million to REAP since it began.

Among the prizes to be awarded in the competition are $100,000 for the school that collects/recycles the most bottles; $50,000 and a water tank for the school that wins the best school garden; and computers and projectors.

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