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The Forestry Department will be embarking on the reforestation of 150 hectares of land and the maintenance of parcels comprising 588 hectares, during the 2020/21 financial year.

This was announced by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, during his contribution to the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 23).

“It (the Department) will also assess 2,500 hectares of Mangrove forest and complete the Bill to amend the Forest Act (1996),” Mr. Vaz informed.

He further noted that 109 hectares of denuded lands have been reforested across the island, surpassing the target of 100 hectares.

In the meantime, Mr. Vaz said that for the current financial year, a total of 671 employment opportunities were provided for 667 casual workers from rural areas/communities close to forests, in the areas of plantation maintenance, reforestation, biophysical inventory and volume assessments.

This, he noted, represents an 18 per cent increase over the 569 casual employment opportunities provided last financial year.

Mr. Vaz further informed that the Forestry Department will continue to provide support to the tree-planting programme to meet the targeted three million trees over three years.

“Under the Initiative, the Agency will be coordinating the provision of seedlings to meet the needs of the government-led planting programme as well as general distribution to the public. There will also be some training for HOPE interns over the period,” he said.

Following a change to Ministerial arrangements in the Cabinet, announced by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Wednesday (June 24), Minister Vaz is now responsible for the Water and Housing portfolios and subject matters relating to certain special economic development projects.

Newly appointed Minister without Portfolio in the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry, Hon. Leslie Campbell, has been assigned to deal with Land, Environment and Climate Change.

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