The country’s small farmers are to benefit from a National Learning Route, which will equip them will knowledge and skills to improve economic outcomes.
The initiative is being undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), and non-governmental organisation, Procasur.
It is part of the Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (FO4ACP) programme, which aims to increase income and improve livelihoods, food and nutrition security and the safety of organised smallholder and family farmers in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
Under the learning route initiative, rural farmers will be taught best practices and solutions, which they will apply to build their entrepreneurial capacities. They will them become trainers, imparting what they have learned to others.
The training will enable farmers to better understand how to access resources and improve market access and efficiency along the agriculture value chain.
Speaking at the launch in Kingston on Tuesday (October 25), Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, welcomed the training, noting that it will improve the socioeconomic condition of small farmers.
He noted that the project is in keeping with the Ministry’s strategies to make the sector more sustainable and promote profitability.
“This project aligns perfectly with the ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart strategy, as the participants will receive training in agribusiness development, safe use of pesticides and good agricultural practices in partnership with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA),” he said.
“We welcome this project; it is a direct response to our expressed need for value chain development. If Jamaica and other small island developing States are to progress, we must add to our capacity for cold chain storage and other forms of storage, so that we can expand the range of products. Value-added must be our focus,” he said.
In his remarks, FAO Representative for Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Crispim Moreira, said the multi-agency collaboration will provide agriculture stakeholders with concrete strategies to move the sector forward.
“I hope that the youth who are going to be participating in the learning route will benefit from the knowledge that will be shared. I also count on you, with your support, to share this knowledge and the tools that you will acquire with the other members,” he said.
Lead Global Technical Specialist, IFAD, Marco Marzano de Marinis, said the project is intended to improve the economic situation for farmers on the island.
“We are here to ensure that you can not only take care of your food necessity, but to make sure that you take care of the necessity of the planet, and even your financial necessity can improve through our support,” he pointed out.
National Learning Route to Build Capacity of Jamaican Small Farmers