Jamaica has secured international funding to bolster its food security by strengthening the country’s agricultural output and improving sustainability and resilience within the sector.
The support is coming from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is providing a US$38-million Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Reduction programme, focussing on strengthening food value chain operations.
The Government of Jamaica is partnering with the FAO in implementing this programme, which is part of wider strategic food security actions being rolled out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries during the new fiscal year.
Jamaica’s agriculture sector is slated to benefit from this programme, which portfolio minister, Pearnel Charles Junior explained, “will speak to a strategy for reducing food losses along value chains, supporting our farmers to reduce post-harvest losses, and extending produce shelf-life to ensure enhanced farm and household cash inflows.”
Minister Charles Jr. made the disclosure yesterday (May 17) during his contribution to the 2022/2023 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
According to him, “the ministry will also be collaborating with the FAO to undertake projects to improve phytosanitary, food safety and market access opportunities along the hot pepper value chain, with funding of J$152 million, and improve rural livelihoods through resilient agri-food systems, at a cost of J$152 million.”
The partnership will also include the J$45-million Rocky Point Fishing Beach Improvement Project to include the provision of landing equipment, fish cleaning and storage facilities, mangrove protection, as well as training for users, and the identification of two technical projects valued at J$37 million for implementation across the sector.
The minister noted that the FAO has greatly assisted the agricultural sector with technical training, funding of programmes and initiatives, and its continued support in the upcoming year in key focus areas is in line with the organisation’s thrust to support food security in the region.
Turning to other programmes, Minister Charles Jr. reported that under the South-South Cooperation Programme, which is a partnership with FAO, China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Jamaica will benefit from this project valued at approximately US$2 million.
It is aimed at strengthening post coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery policies and programmes that facilitate better decision-making; promoting digitalisation and e-commerce strategies among farmers and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and providing inputs for the digitalisation of rural areas and for participation in the United Nations’ 1,000 Digital Village Initiative.