KINGSTON, Jamaica - The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is hosting a Bridging Organisations and Networks Development (BOND) Learning Guide for Trainers Workshop, which aims to build on the Government’s focus on increasing the capacity of small-scale producer entities.
The workshop, being held at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston from May 22 to 24, targets beneficiaries under the Farmers Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP) programme.
The workshop is intended to increase the capacity of farmers’ organisations,
and overall food security, sustainability and safety through coordinated stakeholder inputs.
Outgoing Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr, in his address during the opening ceremony on Monday, endorsed the workshop and pledged the ministry’s support as the Government and its stakeholders in agriculture continue to navigate challenges associated with food security and safety, while maintaining efforts to advance sustainability.
“We are ready to have strong conversations around how we are going to continue the positive trends in production, but focus on the ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ methods to [maximise agricultural outputs]. That is how we are going to move Jamaica to a country that flips its import-export ratio index,” Charles said.
Charles has been reassigned to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
FAO Jamaica Country Representative, Dr Crispim Moreira, said the BOND approach encourages farmers and their groups to form associations that facilitate information exchange and benefit from learning experiences and effective practices that advance sustainable agriculture.
“The training series ahead emphasises the crucial role of farmers’ organisations in building social capital. Farmers, I am encouraged by your collective presence. Your attendance signifies your dedication to pursuing growth and meaningful change that will manifest in well-functioning farmers’ organisations,” he said.
“The BOND learning guide, developed by the FAO, is a remarkable resource, designed to equip farmers’ organisations with the necessary knowledge and skills to strengthen their networks and alliances. It provides a structured framework to enhance social capital within these organisations, emphasising the power of collaboration, cooperation and shared learning,” Dr Moreira added.
Through the session, participants will be taught how to integrate social skills with business acumen, to influence the outlook of agriculture and create a culture of collaboration and continued exchange to tackle challenges to food security.
The workshop, themed ‘Empowering Farmers and their Organisations through the Creation of Social Capital’, is being coordinated by the Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers (JNRWP).
Representatives from six farmers’ organisations are participating in the workshop – the Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers, Jamaica Coffee Growers Association, Jamaica Cocoa Farmers Association, New Era Benevolent Society, Ebony Park Agro Cooperative Society, and Golden Grove Farmers Association.