Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Several farmers from Westmoreland participated in an agrometeorology seminar, staged by the Ministry of Agriculture, at the Savanna-la-Mar United Church Hall in the parish, on May 12.
  • The seminar provided farmers with information on the effects of climate change and the role they can play in assisting to educate not only themselves, but their colleagues, on the subject.
  • Director of Technical Assistance at Ja REEACH, Dianne Dormer, told JIS News that the seminar came against the background of some small farmers sometimes paying scant regard to issues relating to climate change, as they relate to drought and temperature changes.

Several farmers from Westmoreland participated in an agrometeorology seminar, staged by the Ministry of Agriculture, at the Savanna-la-Mar United Church Hall in the parish, on May 12.

The seminar, which was held under the banner of the Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) project, provided farmers with information on the effects of climate change and the role they can play in assisting to educate not only themselves, but their colleagues, on the subject.

Director of Technical Assistance at Ja REEACH, Dianne Dormer, told JIS News that the seminar came against the background of some small farmers sometimes paying scant regard to issues relating to climate change, as they relate to drought and temperature changes.

She informed that matters relating to climate change and information from the National Meteorological Service have been broken down in “bite sizes” for the farmers to understand.

“We recognise that most farmers will tell you that they hear the weather information. As to how it applies to them, they don’t know. So, the idea behind this is to ask Extension Officers to break down the signs behind what the MET office is reporting …so that farmers can use it in their planning,” Ms Dormer said.

She pointed out that farmers have been sensitised on matters relating to how drought and high temperatures contribute to the breeding of insects, such as the Beat Army Worm.

Ms. Dormer said working with the MET Office in staging the seminar is aimed at ensuring that farmers get a better understanding of the terms used in weather reports and also to assist them in being better prepared for the effects of any climate change.

Meanwhile, Acting Head  of  the Climate Branch, at the MET Office, Jacqueline Spence, said bringing public awareness to climate change and matters relating to that topic forms the core of her office’s engagement in the seminar.

She told JIS News that while the information on climate change and its effect are readily available to members of the public, some farmers are still to understand the language and how they are affected.

“The MET Service saw a very good opportunity to do some public awareness in terms of allowing farmers to better understand the terms which are very scientific and are used. We know that there is a need for that information to be brought down to the level where the common person on the street can understand. So, we thought this would be a very good opportunity to do that,” Ms. Spence said.

She noted that while the MET Service is pleased with the response received from the farmers at the seminar, there is room for improvement in the level of understanding and care that is given to the issue.

“We are seeing some persons catching on, but there are others who are still resisting, because it’s science and persons don’t necessarily gravitate towards it. It will take some time, but we are seeing some positive reaction so far. Some farmers have listened to what we have to say and understand us, while others are just doing business as usual,” she added.

Agrometeorology seminars have already been staged for farmers in St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, Hanover, and St. Mary. The series is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with support from the National Meteorological Service.