Climate Change Project upgrades Jamaican Agricultural Station for Caribbean Climate Resilience

Jamaica has been pretty busy on the climate change front, with some excellent developments. The brilliant Dr. Orville Grey, former Senior Technical Officer for Adaptation, left the Climate Change Division in February, to work for the Green Climate Fund in South Korea. And the hard-working Principal Director of the CCD, Una May Gordon, is now one of two representatives of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries (GRULAC), serving on the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Our little Jamaica makes its mark on the international stage in climate change negotiations, as a member of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
Principal Director of the Climate Change Division Una May Gordon with Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (responsible for climate change) Daryl Vaz at a recent meeting. (My photo)
Now, back home, here is a good move towards sustainable agriculture, with the new Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries Audley Shaw. The Bodles Research Station has a tremendous reputation for research, but has been neglected over the years. I am happy to see that attention is being paid to it, and that funding has been made available through the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience/IDB. Here below is PPCR’s press release:
Climate Change Project upgrades Jamaican Agricultural Station for Caribbean Climate Resilience
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries (MICAF) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute (CARDI) was signed yesterday, to facilitate an upgrade of the Seed Storage Facility at Bodles Agricultural Research Station in St Catherine. The MOU was signed by Minister Audley Shaw and CARDI’s Executive Director, Barton Clarke at MICAF’s St Lucia Avenue offices in New Kingston.
Support for this upgrade is being provided through the Caribbean Regional Track of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), with funding from the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The Caribbean Regional Track PPCR is a five year project coordinated by a Project Management Unit, Mona Office for Research and Innovation, University of the West Indies, with funding from the CIF through the IDB. 
A group of Jamaica Hope heifers at the Bodles Research Station in Old Habour, St Catherine. (Photo: Jamaica Gleaner)
 Upgrade activities will cover an expansion of the seed storage facility to include a new and improved cold room and storage areas, and the acquisition of equipment including a seed batch dryer and stand-by power generator to keep the facility viable in the event of a power outage. The upgraded seed storage facility will also house seeds of climate resilient plant varieties. In keeping with the mandate of the PPCR, work to be carried out under the MOU aims at building the resilience of local and regional agriculture to climate change impacts.
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw (centre); Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Donovan Stanberry (left) and Executive Director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Barton Clarke, sign the MoU for the refurbishing of the Bodles Research Station’s seed laboratory and storage facility. (Photo: Jamaica Observer)
Minister Audley Shaw commended the intervention as a timely one. He noted that it supports the current re-development work taking place at the agricultural station, all of which he said was critical to the building of a resilient agricultural sector. “Our aim is to return Bodles to pride of place as an agricultural centre of excellence in the Caribbean,” he stated.
The CARDI executive director echoed this sentiment. Mr. Clarke explained that the upgrade would not only strengthen Jamaica’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and a changing climate, but would also position the country as a leader to support CARDI’s work in safeguarding the region’s seed supplies.
Senior Climate Change specialist with the IDB, Gerard Alleng, said his organisation was pleased to be associated with, and to support, initiatives which demonstrate collaboration between countries and regional organisations. He highlighted the PPCR Caribbean’s unique approach of “supporting national programmes but also supporting regional organisations and countries to work together to prepare for significant climate shocks and the slow onset of climate change impacts.”
 The Caribbean Regional Track of the PPCR supports applied climate change adaptation initiatives in critical sectors, including agriculture, water, health and fisheries in the Caribbean and in the six PPCR countries in the region, working with regional partners and national governments. 
For further information contact Gail Hoad; Communication Consultant; Caribbean Regional Track of the PPCR     Cell: (876)849-7645
Students sample citrus fruits at Bodles Citrus Day held at Bodles Research Station in St. Catherine on March 2. The event was organised by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries’ Post Entry Quarantine and the Jamaica Citrus Protection Agency. (Photo: Ministry of Industry Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries).

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