A pilot project to help young farmers and fishers in five of the island's parishes bolster their businesses and combat climate change was launched last Thursday at the Denbigh 4-H Training and Production Centre in May Pen.
The project is being undertaken through a $21.5-million grant from Global Affairs Canada and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), United Kingdom.
It is a key activity under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Enabling Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER) Project and will be implemented with support from the Jamaica 4-H Clubs.
A total of 600 male and female youth farmers and fisherfolk in select communities in Clarendon, Westmoreland, Manchester, St Elizabeth, and St Thomas are set to benefit from the project titled 'Strengthening the Adaptive Capacity of Farmers and Fisherfolk in Jamaica'.
Over a six-month period, participants will receive training in business management and financial literacy, as well as business inputs to start and strengthen their farming, fisheries and agro-processing enterprises.
The project, which employs a gender-sensitive model, also seeks to strengthen equity and give the beneficiaries access to climate-resilient resources, thereby boosting their adaptive capacity.
It is intended that the undertaking will contribute to national efforts to reduce youth unemployment and engage more young people in agriculture.
State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Franklin Witter, in his address at the launch, noted that under the project, 175 youth will be trained and certified in crop and livestock production, fisheries, and value-added agriculture.
In addition, venture inputs, technical and coaching support will be provided to 110 youth towards the development of agriculture-based enterprises.
"It will strengthen youth resilience to climate change and help to pull vulnerable groups towards maximising their true potential," Witter said, noting that equity in the agriculture sector will allow more people to participate in the country's economic growth.
"Our goal at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is to chart a course that will ultimately protect lives and livelihoods and our young people must lead this initiative to energise and lead the agricultural sector," he added.
Resident Representative, UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica Denise Antonio, who participated in the launch online, said the project aligns with the Jamaica 4-H Clubs 'Youth in Agriculture' programme.
She noted that the grant funding will provide the 600 young people with "skills building and business development, contributing directly to sustainable and climate smart livelihoods within the agriculture and fisheries sectors".
"The work to be undertaken holds much promise for transforming our beneficiary communities, particularly the youth," Antonio said.
The EnGenDER Project, which is being implemented in several Caribbean countries, aims to improve climate resilience for women and girls, key vulnerable populations, and future generations.
In addition to Jamaica, the other beneficiary countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.