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A total of $268 million has been allocated to the Forestry and Wildlife Programme in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
As stated in the 2009/10 Estimates of Expenditure now before the House of Representatives, the objective of this programme is to rehabilitate, protect and manage the national forest resources, estimated at 110,000 hectares or 10 per cent of the land area of Jamaica, for sustainable production and utilisation with due regard to the welfare of the country and the protection of the environment.
Towards this end, the conservation of forests, water, soil and other natural resources, which directly affect government-owned forests, are monitored and controlled by the Forestry Department in collaboration with environmental and natural resource agencies, such as the National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA), the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and the National Water Commission (NWC).
In order to ensure sustainability, the Forestry Department has drafted a Strategic Forest Management Plan, which identifies the following five-year objectives: building the Forestry Department as an efficient and effective service delivery organisation; increase participation of the private sector and non-government organisations; increase community participation and public awareness; develop and implement forest management plans; and maintain and restore forest cover.
Some $3.68 million is projected to be earned from the project for 2009/10 from the sale of timber and seedlings. This income is paid into the Consolidated Fund as department revenue.
Also under the Ministry, the Rural Physical Planning Programme has been allotted $53 million to carry out necessary works, including encouraging conservation and sustainable use of soils; the upgrading of soils, water and plant tissue laboratory in order to maintain high quality services; and complete the draft of the National Soils Policy of Jamaica.
Additional objectives are to: provide advice to the farming community on soil fertility management, including appropriate fertiliser; provide land management recommendations for sustainable agricultural development; advise on land use proposal; promote the retention of prime lands for agricultural use; provide technical advice to Land Divestment Committee; and increase the utilization of the Division’s Geographic Information System as a critical analytical tool in the planning process.

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