Climate Change Mitigation Programmes Reaping Success – Buchanan

By Chris Patterson 
Photo by: JIS PhotographerMinister of State for Agriculture, Labour and Social Security. Hon Luther Buchanan (right), converses with Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Denise Herbol, during a graduation ceremony at the Girl Guides Association headquarters in Kingston, today (February 5). During the ceremony, 186 persons graduated from the Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) project’s climate-smart agriculture farmer field school and climate change action training programme.

Minister of State for Agriculture, Labour and Social Security. Hon Luther Buchanan, says several programmes that have been implemented to mitigate and adapt to climate change across the island, are reaping success.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony of the Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) project, at the Girl Guides Association headquarters in Kingston, today (February 5), Mr. Buchanan said some of the initiatives are being sponsored through the Government of Jamaica Adaptation Fund Programme, under which US$2.9 million was allocated to the Ministry.

He said the implementation is being undertaken in collaboration with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the National Irrigation Commission (NIC).

As it relates to land husbandry, he said five demonstration plots illustrating best practices in climate-smart land husbandry technology have been established, and that these include water diversion ditches, individual basins, waterways, planting of fruit and timber forests and establishment of continuous mounds.

Mr. Buchanan informed that over 1,000 farmers have been trained in the application of climate-smart land husbandry practices. “Many of them are now transferring the technology to their own farm holdings, a demonstrable sign that adaptation is occurring among the farmers of this country,” he added.

The State Minister said that to date, approximately 175 farmers within the agro-parks and other communities in the parishes of St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Manchester, St. Ann, St. Mary, Clarendon and Trelawny, who face the greatest level of risk, have received assistance.

Assistance include the establishment of 60 hectares of onions of which 36 hectares are already established; establishment of 180 hectares of Irish potato, as well as support for the domestic crops; provision of 70 on-farm drip irrigation systems, 50 per cent of which have been installed to date; and the provision of 16 rainwater harvesting systems, of which over 50 per cent have been installed.

In the meantime, he said the Ministry has embarked on a 40-hectare fodder bank project that is being implemented at a cost of $28 million. It includes the planting of fodder (king grass and sugar cane), and the production of hay, which is already bearing positive results – augmenting the feeding of dairy and beef cattle – thereby mitigating the adverse impact of drought.

“Under this intervention, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Dairy Board worked together to provide 23 small dairy farmers with financial and technical assistance to establish fodder banks,” he said.

Also, Mr. Buchanan informed that to date, the Ja REEACH agroforestry and reforestation project has resulted in the planting of over 350,000 trees to protect over 200 acres of vulnerable watersheds across Jamaica.

He said that building the resilience of critical ecosystems in the island is essential for reducing vulnerability to climate change and variability.

Mr. Buchanan emphasised that the Ministry will remain relentless in its efforts and plans to promote food security and food safety through the implementation of agricultural policies and strategies that will enable the sector to adapt to climate change.

He said the involvement of youth in these initiatives will empower them with the skills and tools needed to deliver a solution-oriented response to climate change related hazards.

The State Minister pointed out that climate change continues to be a major challenge to agricultural development in Jamaica, due to the country’s small land mass, fragile ecosystems, high dependence on food imports and the increasing impact of frequent natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, landslides, droughts and heavy winds.

He said that damage and loss associated with the agricultural sector due to major climate change events between 1994 and 2010 was some $14.4 billion.

Meanwhile, Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Denise Herbol, encouraged the graduates and Jamaican youth to be agents of change, share the information, be advocates on key issues and bring solutions to the table, as it relates to adaptation measures.

Some 186 persons graduated from the Ja REEACH project’s climate-smart agriculture farmer field school and climate change action training programme.

 

 

Reposted from: http://jis.gov.jm/climate-change-mitigation-programmes-reaping-success-buchanan/

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