Food For the Poor has committed to planting one million fruit and timber trees over the next three years.
This is in support of the Government’s target to plant three million trees over three years under a national tree planting initiative launched by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness in October 2019.
Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said that the initiative by Food For the Poor is being undertaken under a programme called Fruits for the Poor, launched in February.
“These trees include 22 varieties of fruit trees being germinated by the organisation in its recently established fruit tree nursery, and in the coming year they will also be establishing additional nursery space and, with the support of the Forestry Department, will also start to germinate timber species,” he said.
He was addressing the Youth Month tree-planting exercise on Wednesday (November 25) at Boulevard Baptist Church in Kingston.
Minister Charles noted that the Forestry Department, which is leading the three million trees initiative, is finalising other major partnerships with private- and public-sector entities, which will result in a significant increase in the rate and number of the targeted tress being planted.
He noted that the Forestry Department has taken practical steps to ensure the success of the programme.
“They have ramped up production of tree seedlings at their nurseries as well as secured partnerships with both public- and private-sectors entities to identify and secure additional resources such as land, funding and labour,” Minister Charles said.
He further shared that up to September, the Department had planted and distributed approximately 250,000 ornamental timber and fruit tree seedlings with another 70,000 scheduled to be planted and distributed before the end of 2020.
The Minister commended corporate entities that have made pledges to plant trees under the programme such as GraceKennedy Limited, Wisynco Group Limited, Noranda Bauxite and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), which collectively plant more than 700,000 trees.
“This should serve as motivation for other corporate entities to also make their pledges towards a healthy natural environment,” Minister Charles said.
The national tree-planting programme initiative, which is part of Government’s strategic response to climate change, will see the foresting of 3,000 hectares of land with two million timber seedlings, while the remaining one million timber and ornamental seedlings will be distributed to the public for planting.