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    • President, Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, says educational programmes will be implemented for farmers, particularly in the coffee growing areas of the island, to discourage them from using the slash and burn method for land preparation.
    • The JAS President suggested that farmers use other methods for land preparation such as contouring and composting.

    President, Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, says educational programmes will be implemented for farmers, particularly in the coffee growing areas of the island, to discourage them from using the slash and burn method for land preparation.

    He said this, among other measures, form part of the Government’s strategy to encourage farmers to apply safer and more environmentally-friendly practices in order to protect their farms and boost productivity.

    Senator Grant was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for 36 Peace Corps volunteers, held Friday (May 22), at the residence of the United States Ambassador to Jamaica in Kingston.

    His remarks come on the heels of recent bush fires, which raged for about 15 days in sections of East Rural St. Andrew, destroying approximately 500 acres of prime coffee lands and causing losses in excess of $200 million. The fires were attributed to the use of the slash and burn technique.

    The JAS President suggested that farmers use other methods for land preparation such as contouring and composting.

    “Our farmers and our young farmers, in particular, need to be continually exposed to new environmental practices, which can be infused in our agricultural framework. Agricultural education and environmental awareness are inextricably linked as one clearly has an effect on the other,” he said.

    In the meantime, he commended the Peace Corps volunteers for their unwavering service to the people of Jamaica through their various programmes. “Leave an indelible mark as it relates to your training and your involvement and interaction with our Jamaican citizens,” he urged them.

    The volunteers, who will spend two years in Jamaica, have successfully completed approximately 10 weeks of training, and are versed in the Jamaican culture, including language, food and mode of transportation.

    They will work in two projects: education (primary literacy) and environment (green initiative). The education volunteers will engage with students in the rural parts of the island, to increase the reading and writing skills of children operating below the required level.

    The environment group will work with schools, communities, environmental groups and farmers, to design and execute environmental awareness programmes and promote sustainable agricultural practices.

    The US Peace Corps was established in 1961 by John F. Kennedy and involves American men and women of all ages and ethnic groups.

    Since its inception, over 200,000 persons have served as volunteers in 138 countries around the world. More than 4,000 Peace Corps and Crisis Corps volunteers have served in Jamaica.