Jamaican farmers’ groups meet to discuss new training opportunities

I have to say, I worry for Jamaican farmers. At the same time, I admire them greatly for their tenacity and willingness to achieve results, no matter what. The former Agriculture Minister Floyd Green started an “Agriculture in Bloom” programme to give women farmers extra support. I am not sure whether it is still going, but I do feel that women already play a key role as small farmers (and I do not use “small” in a derogatory way!) Be that as it may, farmers face enormous challenges.

If it were only so simple (and if farmers had access to funds to do all of this…)

I get very distressed by television news reports of precious (valuable) goats that have disappeared overnight from farms, and crops that have been dug up just as they are ripening by thieves. The threats posed by climate change cannot be understated, either. Farmers have already lost crops through prolonged droughts and equally, through heavy rains and flooded fields. And today is Day One of the 2022 hurricane season.

Talking to a farmer in Ridge Red Bank, St. Elizabeth. I took this photo in March, 2019 during a field trip with Voices for Climate Change.

So, it is always good to see that options are being explored to offer farmers (who among other things, badly need some financial solutions!) training of various kinds, so that they can take advantage of opportunities that are indeed out there, but not always accessible enough.

Today, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Jamaica invited six farmers’ organisations to a workshop at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston (and on Zoom) with the FAO’s Representative for Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize Dr. Crispim Moreira; Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hon. Pearnel Charles, Jr; and Mr. Mr. Juan Moreno, PROCASUR Corporation. Here are the details from the FAO’s Jamaica office. Hopefully, it was a productive day.

A farmer waters her crop by hand in St. Elizabeth. (My photo)

Farmers’ Organizations to chart course for increasing their incomes

Six Farmers’ Organizations will gather to discuss how they can benefit from targeted training to support farmers in increasing their production and incomes.

On Wednesday, June 1, 2022, facilitated through the Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (FO4ACP) Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MOAF) and PROCASUR Corporation will gather key Jamaican stakeholders and experts to identify new training opportunities for farmers. The workshop will also discuss and agree on the multi-dimensional issues related to the challenges faced by smallholder farmers in Jamaica.

Many Jamaican smallholder farmers face challenges including limited access to productive and sustainable assets, limited access to credit and financial solutions, limited knowledge of business management, agronomic best practices, and high costs of inputs. In response, these farmers arrange themselves into Farmers’ Organizations to leverage their combined resources to gain access to training in good agricultural practices, business planning, marketing assistance, as well as liaising with governmental and nongovernmental organizations and advocating for technical and financial support.

This workshop seeks to support these organizations whilst building a shared understanding of the underlying causes and drivers of challenges faced by small scale farmers in Jamaica and the adequacy and efficacy of Farmers’ Organizations in representing, training, and advocating, for the success and sustainability of small-scale farmers. 

The FO4ACP Programme is an initiative which focuses on increasing the capacity of small-scale producer organizations in advocating for their members. In the Caribbean Region, the FO4ACP is implemented by the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, PROCASUR Corporation and AgriCord.

A farmer in Richmond Gap with seedlings. (Photo: NEPA)

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