450 farmers benefit from agroforestry training in Manchester
Farmers and stakeholders in agriculture pose for a photo following a recent agroforestry trainingsession and equipment handing-over ceremony in Lincoln, Manchester. (Photos: Gregory Bennett)

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Scores of farmers from seven communities in north-west Manchester have received training in agroforestry through a two-month programme spearheaded by the Central Jamaica Social Development Initiative (CJSDI).

CJSDI director Damion Young said the training of 450 farmers culminated in Lincoln District recently.

The farmers, who are from Lincoln, Grove Place, John's Hall, Epping Forest, Green Mount, St Pauls and Medina, were sensitised in agroforestry techniques.

Young said the methods of chemical application with proper fertiliser for plant nutrition and best standards in agriculture practices were among the aspects of the training.

“These trainings were made possible through support and partnerships from the United States Forestry Department and its subsidiary, Natural Infrastructure for Caribbean Resilience (NICaR) Program,” he said.

He added that through a public-private partnership the training was successful.

“We had Food for the Poor, Rural Agricultural Development Authority, Heart/NSTA Trust, Forestry Department, Home Grown Produce, Caribbean Chemicals, and Newport-Fersan coming on board,” he said.

He said Food for the Poor donated two ploughing machines and tools including pickaxes, forks, machetes, hoes, wheelbarrows and rakes to farmers.

He said Sagicor Life promoted health insurance for the farmers and GraceKennedy Insurance promoted crop insurance during the training.

“We look at how we could also guide farmers into crop insurance and personal insurance. It was a very rounded initiative… It has been really a resounding success in that farmers received tools, agriculture inputs such as chemicals and fertilisers from these organisations and useful education,” said Young.

He said he was pleased with the turnout of farmers.

“We believe that this initiative will serve to strengthen them and help their resilience as they continue the business of agriculture,” he said.

Young said the training was timely as consumers are being affected by rising prices in commodities.

“We believe that the training is timely as we are seeing a serious conflict in Europe between Russia and Ukraine, both of which are countries that supply us with various kinds of food material, whether wheat or oil and as a result we are going to be seeing increasing prices. It serves us well if we can increase local production and enhance our own local food security initiatives,” he explained.

“I think we do not need to wait on any global power to suggest to us that we need to ramp up our own food basket and secure our people's health and wellness,” he added.

“We are happy that the farmers turned out in good numbers and have benefited from these initiatives. We are hoping for an increase in the production of crops such as sweet potatoes, peanuts, other legumes, yam, Irish potatoes, so that our nation's food stability will be maintained,” said Young.

YOUNG... I think we do not needto wait on any global power tosuggest to us that we need toramp up our own food basketand secure our people's healthand wellness
BY KASEY WILLIAMS Observer staff reporter kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

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