JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, wants potential investors to start viewing forestry as a viable investment option.
The appeal was made in his message, delivered by Chairman of the Forestry Advisory Board, Mr. Paul Seaton, at the opening of the Forestry Department’s Seventh Annual Exposition, at its head office in Kingston on Thursday (November 26).
Dr. Tufton noted that the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors recorded the highest growth in the last quarter, but he is convinced that better results can come from the forestry sector, through increased investment in both timber and non-timber products.
“The very same farmers who were involved in increasing production by 10 per cent in the agricultural sector, can also be encouraged to adopt agro-forestry practices by planting timber between their cash crops. This can be a long-term option,” he suggested.
Dr. Tufton pointed out that timber could provide shade for crops, as well as supply added nutrients to the soil and improve the quality of the crops.
The Agriculture Minister suggested the planting of Christmas trees for short-term investments, and the planting of cedar, mahogany and the Blue Mahoe, for the long term.
He stated that, apart from the financial benefits of planting trees, there are other benefits, including disaster mitigation, by reducing landslides and flooding, and climate change mitigation.
“Climate change and forestry are intrinsically linked. Changes in global climate are already stressing forests through higher temperatures and more frequent and extreme weather events,” he stated.
Dr. Tufton pointed out that research in forestry also holds tremendous potential, and lamented the fact that Jamaica is not maximising the potential of its plants, by thoroughly investigating what they can be used for.
The Forestry Expo was held under the theme, ‘Invest in Forestry…Invest in Life’. The event attracted several schools. A number of Government agencies also mounted displays.
Timber saplings were distributed free of cost, while fruit saplings were available for purchase.

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