JIS News

The Forestry Department in the Ministry of Agriculture has stepped up its drive to reforest the country, through what the department calls its ‘Private Planting Programme’.
Through the programme, farmers are encouraged to plant timber trees such as Cedar, Mahoe, Spanish Elm, Pines and Broad Leaf, among others, with the seedlings and technical advice on how to grow and nurture them being provided by the Forestry Department.
“The aim of the programme is to reforest the private lots or the private holdings across Jamaica.
Everybody is now reaping, but how many are planting. So what we are trying to do is to get the farmers to invest in timber trees, to improve their financial status in years to come, improve the value of their land and land coverage, and improve soil fertility,” Glen Ivey, a Forester in the Forestry Department’s western regional office told JIS News.
Mr. Ivey pointed out that although the private planting programme has been in place for quite some time, it was not being utilized to its fullest. He said that the programme could be viewed as a long term investment, which would enhance the environment as well.
He pointed out that during Hurricane Ivan last year, a lot of trees and seeds for the production of seedlings were destroyed, but production of seedlings should be back to normal very soon.
Mr. Ivey explained that the amount of land a farmer possessed had nothing to do with his qualification to benefit from the programme, adding that the Forestry Department would do an assessment of the land, to determine what trees would prosper in the particular area, and soil type. He said that the response of farmers to the programme in western Jamaica was gradually picking up, describing it as “fair moving on to good”.
Mr. Ivey said he would be making every effort to attend all the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) branch meetings throughout the west in the next few months, to spread information about the programme among the farmers.

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