Farmers to benefit from second phase of REDI IIMonday, March 01, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries says 320 farmers and their households are to benefit from a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) for the implementation of the second phase of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI II) Water Harvesting and Greenhouse Cluster Project.
The ministry said vulnerable groups and persons with disabilities are also expected to benefit under the project, which is being implemented over a five-year period.
Chief Technical Director in the ministry, Courtney Cole, said the initiative fits within the ministry's strategic charge to safeguard the food security and livelihoods of the most vulnerable by providing smallholder farmers and herders with agricultural inputs to continue to generate income for their families.
“It also speaks to the mitigation of the risks of large shocks such as drought and other natural disasters that would have a considerable impact on everyone especially those of the poor and most vulnerable,” he added.
Cole was speaking at the signing ceremony at the AC Hotel in Kingston on Friday.
The MoU was signed by JSIF Managing Director, Omar Sweeney and JBI General Manager, Stevie Barnett.
Under the Water Harvesting and Greenhouse Cluster project of REDI II, the ministry said 300 greenhouses are to be constructed in minded-out lands across multiple parishes supported by repurposed bauxite pits for rainwater harvesting to increase vegetable production.
It explained that the project will also facilitate wider benefits to communities in terms of greater food availability and employment opportunities and economic development through entrepreneurship revenue generation; crop production that is resilient to climate change; and increased production capacity to respond to greater market demand.
The ministry said other objectives include the establishment of Food Safety Infrastructure that satisfies the United States Food and Drug Administration requirements, to include bathroom, changing rooms, handwashing stations, pesticide storage and packing sheds; and comprehensive capacity building in terms of the adoption of modern greenhouse technologies and the integration of sound business practices in the operation of the greenhouse clusters.
Meanwhile, Sweeney, in his remarks said this kind of agriculture will enable farmers to become more resilient to the effects of climate change while facilitating their ability to respond to greater market demands.
He noted that initial greenhouses established under the first REDI programme continues to thrive.
Barnett, for his part, noted that his organisation was proud to be a part of any initiative that would advance Jamaica's largest and most important industry — agriculture.
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