Jamaica is among five Caribbean Community countries that will benefit from the five-year Sustainable Agriculture in the Caribbean (SAC) project, which aims to promote climate-resilient agriculture for equitable economic growth and the increased economic prosperity of women and youth in the sector.
The other countries that stand to benefit are Dominica, Guyana, St Lucia, and Suriname.
The project was launched virtually recently by World University Service of Canada (WUSC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, with a view to address gaps and barriers in agricultural market systems faced by youth and women. Among the project’s objectives are: alleviating the impact of climate change; reducing vulnerability to natural disasters, and fostering climate-resilient agriculture markets.
Speaking at the launch, Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (MOA) Audley Shaw noted that the project was an example of the type of partnership the Government pursues to promote growth and development in the agriculture sector.
“We see this initiative as a booster to the agriculture sector. In fact, the SAC project is aligned with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Programme, which aims to expose youth to life skills, entrepreneurship and other necessary tools to pursue business opportunities in the agriculture sector,” he said.
He added that the project also aligned with the MOA’s Women in Bloom initiative that celebrates women’s contribution to the sector.
“This year, we are seeking to engage 50 women, who are at different stages of their agri-entrepreneurial journey, by providing assistance in training and funding,” Shaw shared.
While emphasising that climate-resilient agriculture is a priority of the Government of Jamaica, Shaw pointed out that his ministry has revamped the Disaster Risk Management and Mitigation Committee, which will implement the Climate-Smart Framework and Strategy developed for the sector.
“The need to increase livelihoods, opportunities, and capacity for women and youth to participate in inclusive, sustainable, and climate-resilient agricultural market systems are goals that are linked with the Ministry’s New FACE of Food Strategy,” the minister stated.