JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, officially launched the National Agricultural Disaster Risk Management Programme, at the opening ceremony of the Annual Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show in Clarendon, on August 1.
The programme was initiated in May 2008, against the background of some $3.7 billion in losses, following the passage of Hurricane Dean in 2007.
It will be managed by a special Disaster Management Committee, and will establish a structure and mechanisms for preparing adequately for natural disasters. There will also be appropriate response measures, to deal with the disasters once they have occurred.
“We suffer losses in billions of dollars each year. It is now time to improve our capacity to deal with these,” Dr. Tufton emphasised.
The Disaster Committee will be comprised of representatives from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the army, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), agricultural input providers, the Fisheries Division, the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) and other interest groups.
Sub-committees headed by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Parish Advisory Boards, will be established in every parish.
The programme seeks to achieve several objectives. It is primarily concerned with sensitising sector stake holders and the general populace on the importance of making adequate preparations to minimise the damage caused by natural and other disasters, and measures to speedily rebound from the resultant damage. It will also ensure the timely dissemination of information to the media, and initiate programmes to train farmers in disaster mitigation. Additionally, it will spearhead plans for the establishment of emergency operation centres.
A significant feature of the programme, will be the training of a cadre of volunteers from each parish, to assist farmers with preparedness activities, and the conducting of rapid damage assessments after a disaster.
Suppliers of agricultural inputs will partner with the Ministry of Agriculture to supply farmers with seeds, fertilizer and other items as soon as the disaster has passed. The aim is to have production up and running in as little as two weeks, once the disaster is over.
The Annual Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show got off to its traditional start with various impressive displays by companies and individuals.