Jamaica Proposes Project to help Resuscitate Agriculture in Haiti


Jamaica has proposed a special project to the Haitian administration, which aims to assist in resuscitating that nation’s agricultural sector from the effects of the 7.0 earthquake, which devastated that country on January 12.
Speaking at Thursday’s (May 6) post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, told journalists that Jamaica’s proposal was expected to form part of an $800 million restoration and investment plan being formulated for execution in Haiti.
He informed that Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, in his capacity as Chairman of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), has been “actively partnering” with his Haitian counterpart to formulate the plan, talks for which commenced during Dr. Tufton’s visit to the French-speaking nation on March 24.
Mr. Vaz explained that the project “will provide critical intervention in two main areas – establishment of fruit and forestry trees to promote bio-diversity, providing greater economic opportunities and support (for the) nutrition goals of the population; and expansion of the small stock production to provide income and reduce food insecurity.” He advised that a detailed report on Dr. Tufton’s visit to Haiti was submitted to Cabinet.

Minister with Responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Hon. Daryl Vaz (right), fields questions from journalists during Thursday’s (May 6) post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House. Looking on is Acting Chief Technical Director, Information and Telecommunications, OPM, Jo-Anne Archibald.

On another matter, Mr. Vaz said Cabinet received a report outlining actions being pursued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to counter impact of the predatory lion fish on Jamaica’s fisheries and eco-system.
“Research conducted by the University of the West Indies (UWI) has shown that the lion fish in Jamaican waters, has been consuming a wide variety of small fish, such as the parrot fish and spiny lobster, which are critical to Jamaica’s fisheries,” Mr. Vaz said.
The lion fish is a native of the Indo-Pacific oceanic region, which extends from western Australia and Malaysia, east to French Polynesia and the Pitcairn Islands, north to southern Japan and Korea, and south to parts of coastal Australia. The fish, however, has and continue to spread to other regions of the world, including the Caribbean.
Speculations are rife regarding its emergence in the region, with some scientists attributing this to the destruction of an aquarium in southern Florida housing a school of the fish. Other interests theorise that the fish and/or the eggs were deliberately released into the region by stakeholders in the aquarium trade.

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