With Jamaica now three weeks into the 2023 Hurricane season, Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Franklin Witter, has urged that climate-resilient agricultural practices must be prioritised.
Speaking yesterday (June 20) at an agriculture stakeholders’ forum in Kingston, Witter emphasised that climate change and varying weather conditions pose a “real threat” to food security in Jamaica.
“With our vulnerable geographical location and our reliance on agriculture, we would have been impacted seriously over the many years as a result of the changes in the pattern of weather, which includes rainfall,” the State Minister said.
He pointed out that weather events directly impact crops and yields and have a greater impact on small farmers.
“So, to address these challenges, Jamaica must prioritise climate-resilient agricultural practices, promote sustainable land and water management, diversify agricultural production and invest in innovative technologies,” the State Minister urged.
In addition, he said that strengthening the social safety net and fostering international collaborations will be crucial for ensuring food security and building a sustainable future in the face of climate change.
The forum focused on the Lifelong Learning for Farmers (L3F) In Jamaica programme which is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth of Learning and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
It aimed to foster stakeholder conversation related to climate change, food security, and the agricultural value chain and served as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experiences and the development of collaborative strategies to move the agricultural sector forward.
Witter commended the L3F programme for empowering Jamaican farmers to access quality education, training, and the adaptation of innovative farming practices.
“[This] partnership has been instrumental in enhancing the capacity of our farmers, improving extension services, and adopting ICT-based solutions that have revolutionised the way we approach agriculture. Through our giant efforts, we have not only improved the livelihoods of our farmers but also strengthen the overall resilience of our agricultural community,” the State Minister said.