Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz has noted that Climate Smart Agriculture is one of the tools that the island’s farmers must employ to ensure the nation’s food security for this and future generations.

Minister Vaz, who has responsibility for Climate Change and the Environment, was addressing farmers and other stakeholders on March 20, 2019,  at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s (RADA’s) Annual Open Day and Exhibition, at the Folly Oval in Port Antonio, Portland.

He commended RADA for its role in assisting the farmers in Portland and throughout the island to become climate smart, adding that the livelihoods of our small farmers are even more at risk when adverse weather events such as drought, excessive rainfall, flooding and wind damage from hurricanes are included. 

“We therefore need to continue to equip our farmers and of course, our fisher folk,  with the necessary knowledge and tools, to adapt to climate change while developing resilient and sustainable forms of agriculture”, the Minister stated.

Minister Vaz noted that in 2018, some 5,000 small farmers in the parishes of Portland, St. Thomas and St. Mary benefitted from specialized two-year training  to increase their capacity to implement climate smart agricultural practices.

The project is a partnership between the  Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Co-operation (CTA), based in the Netherlands, the Climate Change Division in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, and  RADA.

According to Minister Vaz, these kinds of partnerships are critical to the efforts to achieve sustainable development through the practice of Climate Smart Agriculture.

It is incumbent on you to ensure that the project is successful. Coming up in May we will have the project team travelling with the Climate Change Division to South Africa to present Jamaica’s result thus far. We are ensuring that two farmers from the project are on this mission to speak for themselves”, the Minister noted.

Minister Vaz also urged consumers to purchase local produce,  noting that it makes no sense for the nation to seek to increase its food security by incorporating climate smart initiatives and training farmers, when in the end the food rots in the field while we purchase imported produce. 

“As my Ministry and RADA continue to promote climate smart agriculture and increase productivity, it is with the overarching Vision 2030 goal, in mind.  Jamaica cannot be ‘the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business’, if we have to rely on imported food; if a critical sector of our society, our farmers and fishers cannot make a decent living; or if we do not take steps to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change”, the Minister said.  

Minister Vaz assured the farmers that the Government is committed to the New Jamaica, where the fruits of their efforts are realized and everyone has the potential to earn a decent living.