JIS News

The Cascade Producers Marketing Organisation, in Hanover, a group comprising some 25 farmers from that rural district, signed an agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) yesterday (Jan. 21) which guarantees the farmers some $225,000 in assistance for production of the ‘Lucea Yam’.
According to FAO representative in Jamaica, Dr. Dunstan Campbell, the agreement, which was signed at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Hanover parish office, is being facilitated under the second phase of the FAO’s Initiative on Soaring Food Prices (ISFP) project.
He explained that the ISFP project was launched by the FAO in December 2007 in response to the rise in food prices worldwide, which posed a serious threat to the food security of developing, food importing countries such as Jamaica.
He informed that the ISFP project has two main goals which are to make food accessible to the most vulnerable, and to help small farmers increase their output and earn more. The project is divided into three phases with Haiti being the sole beneficiary in the western hemisphere under the first phase.
Dr. Campbell informed that Jamaica is benefitting under phase two of the project, which targets developing countries.
“Under phase two of the project the FAO made available to Jamaica US$250,000 for the improvement for food security here in Jamaica. That money is now being used in Jamaica for two purposes.specifically to strengthen or increase the production of root and tubers, under which you are benefitting, and I am here today because you fall under this part of the project,” he told the Hanover farmers.
“The other purpose is for providing support to vulnerable institutions to produce their own food, and here in Jamaica we are working with the infirmaries in St. Thomas, Manchester and in Westmoreland,” he explained.
He informed that phase three of the ISFP project is now being finalised, adding that Jamaica is set to receive a substantial cheque under that phase, for further increase in food production to meet its food security needs.
Turning to the $225,000 agreement being signed, Dr. Dunstan pointed out that it is specifically for the production of ‘Lucea’ Yams. He emphasised that the agreement is aimed at re-starting and boosting the specialised area of yam production in Lucea, Hanover. He expressed pleasure at working with the Cascade Producers and Marketing Organisation under this agreement, highlighting the importance of marketing for farm products.
“So very often farmers produce and they can’t market, and it causes frustration and in fact it breaks the cycle. In fact when you produce and you cannot market then you are not given the incentive to produce, then it goes down and the cycle for food security is broken,” he stated.
He implored the Cascade group to not use the money provided solely on production but to also consider the marketing aspect of their endeavours, as no additional funds will be provided to support the marketing of their products.

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