Some 600 young farmers and fishers across five parishes will benefit from support to bolster their enterprises and combat climate change under the pilot ‘Strengthening the Adaptive Capacity of Farmers and Fisherfolk in Jamaica’ project.
The initiative, which is being undertaken through a $21.5-million grant from Global Affairs Canada and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), was launched on Thursday (August 11) at the Denbigh 4-H Training and Production Centre in May Pen, Clarendon.
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.
The project is targeted at male and female youth farmers and fisherfolk in select communities in Clarendon, Westmoreland, Manchester, St Elizabeth and St Thomas.
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.
This project, which employs a gender-sensitive model, also seeks to strengthen equity and access of the beneficiaries 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.
Franklin Witter state minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 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 added, noting that equity in the agriculture sector will allow more persons 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 asserted.
Participating in the launch online, Denise Antonio, Resident Representative of the UNDP Multi-Country Office in Jamaica, 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.