Farmers Encouraged to Engage in Climate Change Mitigation Plans

Photo: Dave Reid Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Courtney Cole, addresses the Agricultural Information Forum hosted by JAMPRO at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on March 13.

Story Highlights

  • Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Courtney Cole, is calling on farmers and agricultural investors to engage in more climate change mitigation plans, in an effort to protect their investments.
  • Mr. Cole said due to climate change, Jamaica has been experiencing inconsistent weather patterns, which have affected crops across the island in the last 12 months, thereby impacting the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
  • “We remained flat in the periods that have passed recently because of the devastating rains, but we have a lot to be hopeful about,” he said.

Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Courtney Cole, is calling on farmers and agricultural investors to engage in more climate change mitigation plans, in an effort to protect their investments.

Mr. Cole said due to climate change, Jamaica has been experiencing inconsistent weather patterns, which have affected crops across the island in the last 12 months, thereby impacting the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Addressing a Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) Agricultural Information Forum on March 13 at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew, Mr. Cole pointed out that the sector, in 2016, contributed 7.3 per cent to the GDP, and that was 1.3 per cent over the year before.

“We remained flat in the periods that have passed recently because of the devastating rains, but we have a lot to be hopeful about,” he said.

“What we have is a situation where we’re operating on something looking like a pendulum or a continuum, where on one side you have extreme drought conditions, and then on the other we have extreme precipitation and flooding. It seems like that has become the new norm,” he added.

Mr. Cole said that the seasonal patterns that could have been predicted years ago have now changed due to climate change, and, as such, farmers and investors need to invest more in mitigation plans to prepare for the unexpected.

“We have to find ways of mitigating the drought situation by harvesting more of that water that floods us out. We must have mechanisms in place that will capture that water, so that we have it when the drought situation comes around again,” he suggested.

Mr. Cole said the Government, through the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, has been making efforts to prevent the devastating impact that climate change can bring to the economy.

“The Ministry, through RADA and other affiliated entities, has been engaging our farmers and training them,” he noted.

JAMPRO hosted the forum with the aim of increasing local and international investment in the agricultural sector to support Jamaica’s economic growth programme and empower local farmers.

It was used as a platform to highlight agriculture as an important business opportunity in Jamaica and to emphasise the Government’s commitment to supporting the growth of the sector.

Some of the issues addressed were financing options for agricultural activities; traditional and non-traditional crop opportunities; land availability and suitability issues; marketing of agricultural products locally and overseas; and Government initiatives and programmes to support agriculture, such as agro parks and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) support to farmers.

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