JIS News

The Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) has secured funding from the European Union (EU), to develop an agro-tourism project, to be implemented in the Buff Bay Valley in Portland.
IICA’s representative in Jamaica, Cynthia Currie, who made the announcement during a ceremony to launch ‘IICA Day’ at the agency’s headquarters in Kingston, yesterday (Nov.7) said that at the end this 15-month project, “we would have developed a nature trail, farm tours and culture-based activities in the area that on one hand give the many tourists that come to Jamaica, an authentic and fuller taste of the Jamaican culture and on the other hand, and very importantly, increases economic activity for residents in the community.”
Mrs. Currie said that IICA will also be linking farmers in the Valley with hotels in the area, adding that the “lessons learnt” from the project will be documented, “so that we don’t just go ahead and just leave it, but document what went right, and what can be improved. The ultimate objective is to replicate this Buff Bay Valley project, in other areas of Jamaica.”
The IICA Representative further informed that the Institute in conjunction with the Agriculture Ministry, with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), are also in the preliminary phase of rolling out another development project.
“This one is designed to resuscitate and enhance sustainability in the fisheries and green house sectors. The objective is to rebuild a number of fishing beaches – six fishing beaches across Jamaica, restore specific reefs to revive life into the fishing habitats, and improve the livelihood of fisher folk,” Mrs. Currie noted.
With respect to the greenhouse aspect of the project, she said IICA will be assisting farmers with protective farming technology, which will make their crops less susceptible to damage from insects and the elements of nature. “At the end of this three-year project, 40 commercial modern greenhouses would have been built across the island, along with packing houses,” the IICA Representative informed.
In addition to these major projects, IICA will also be assisting the Government in hosting the 5th Ministerial Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture from across the Americas. “Thirty-four Ministers of Agriculture, will come into Jamaica. We will be having a week-long event with them, and we will, also as part of the week-long event, host the 15th Inter-American Board of Agriculture Meeting,” Mrs. Currie noted further.
She said that celebrating ‘IICA Day’ also represented 33 years of collaborating with the Government of Jamaica, its agencies, and with various partners to promote the development of agriculture and rural communities in Jamaica.
“IICA, as you know, is not cash rich, but with our vast network across the Americas with some of the powerhouses in agriculture, we have a wealth of expertise to offer, and that is invaluable, we believe, to achieving real returns in the drive for the development and modernisation of local agriculture,” she said.
Mrs. Currie noted further that through a consultative process of engaging and listening to stakeholders during the entity’s accountability seminars, “we have the opportunity to not only share the successes of our involvement, but each year, we are able to identify and address the priority needs and requests of the agricultural sector.”
“This reflective and collaborative approach ensures that IICA remains relevant, proactive, and responsive in Jamaica, and it accounts for the contributions this institute has been able to make,” she added.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry, said that one of the things that is impressive about IICA, is the fact its programmes are “demand-driven, and responsive to our (the county’s) needs.”
Mr. Stanberry noted that two and a half years ago when he sought assistance for the Veterinary Division, it was received in “no time.” He said it is very important that when an agency operates in a country, “that they sit down with us and say, ‘listen, we are here to help, how can we partner’?”
He also praised IICA’s level of accountability. “IICA has been very accountable, and I am particularly impressed with the accountability seminar that they have put on each year, that says..’this is what you have asked us to do, this is how we have done it, you judge us’,” he pointed out.
IICA, founded in 1942, works with the Ministry of Agriculture, and agricultural and development agencies, and rural communities, to promote agricultural development and rural well-being in the countries of the Americas.
The IICA office in Jamaica, currently provides technical assistance in the areas of agri-business, food safety, and project management.

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