- The agricultural sector is benefitting from a US$2.9 million fund, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries climate change mitigation initiative.
- The programme is being implemented in selected communities in the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Mary, St. Ann, Trelawny, Manchester, Clarendon and St. Catherine.
- Some of the expected outcomes of the programme, which is scheduled to be completed in 2016, are an increase in agricultural productivity and food security as a result of increased access to domestic and irrigated water
The agricultural sector is benefitting from a US$2.9 million fund, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries climate change mitigation initiative.
This forms a part of the Government of Jamaica Adaptation Fund Programme (GoJ/AFP), which was established in 2013. “The primary objectives of the agriculture component of the GoJ/AFP is to protect livelihoods and food security of the population in vulnerable communities by strengthening coastal protection; improving land and water management for the agricultural sector; and building capacity for climate change adaptation,” Programme Manager, I.W. Wilson, told JIS News at a recent ‘Think Tank’.
The programme is being implemented in selected communities in the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Mary, St. Ann, Trelawny, Manchester, Clarendon and St. Catherine. To date, five husbandry demonstration plots, which are used as Centres of Excellence, have been established; 99 small scale on-farm drip irrigation systems installed; and grant assistance made to 330 farmers to assist in the production of 160 hectares of Irish potato and 40 hectares of onion. According to Mr. Wilson, some of the objectives of the programme are to: improve the irrigation water supply infrastructure; provide a more consistent supply of irrigation water; promote rainwater harvesting; implement best practices and promote climate smart agriculture; reduce the cost of crop production; and encourage farmers to produce year round crops.
He noted that agriculture is sensitive to climate changes, and farmers are reporting that changing weather patterns make it difficult to determine the best planting times.
“The changing climate has caused new diseases and pests to appear and more intense floods and long dry spells, which lead to loss of crops and income for many farmers and workers in agriculture,” Mr. Wilson said. “Since we started implementation, the farmers have been responding well to the interventions that have been undertaken and so far the programme is achieving its objectives,” he noted.
Mr. Wilson pointed out that the impact of climate hazards on the agricultural sector are made worse by the sector’s low capacity to adapt and low resilience to hazards related to climate change, due to lack of resources among farmers, low levels of technology and poor water management practices. However, he noted that farmers are being trained in best practices for farming, and that work is being done to establish user groups for better management of water, which is scarce but vital in agricultural communities.
Some of the expected outcomes of the programme, which is scheduled to be completed in 2016, are an increase in agricultural productivity and food security as a result of increased access to domestic and irrigated water; reduction in soil erosion; improved soil fertility; water user groups established and strengthened; and the delivery of technical assistance and training to farmers.
The Adaptation Fund was established to finance concrete adaptation projects/programmes in developing countries that are party to the Kyoto Protocol and are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Jamaica is one of the first countries to access support from the Fund.