Development Officer, Public Affairs, at the Canadian High Commission, Nadene Newsome, says Canada is committed to supporting the Caribbean’s climate resilience efforts.
Representing High Commissioner of Canada, Her Excellency Laurie Peters, at the graduation ceremony for the Dolphin Head Local Forest Management Committee Co-operative Society’s Farmer Field School, Ms. Newsome noted that in November 2017, following the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria, Canada announced that CAN$100 million would be donated in support of reconstruction and climate resilience efforts in the Caribbean region for the next five years.
“I am sure you will agree that the impact of climate change can already be seen and felt, not only in Jamaica, but across the region and we certainly anticipate more impact in the coming years,” Ms. Newsome said at the ceremony, held on August 21 at the Dolphin Head Reserve in Kingsvale, Hanover.
She pointed out that the support includes a number of initiatives that target all aspects of the disaster risk management cycle, including preparedness, response, reconstruction and recovery.
Meanwhile, Ms. Newsome congratulated the graduates. “We trust and hope that your time was well spent and that you will take the knowledge gathered from the training and not only apply it to your own activities, but also share it with your family, friends and the wider community,” she urged.
She also lauded the Dolphin Head Local Forest Management Committee Co-operative Society for “providing an excellent example of community outreach and development.”
For her part, Public Relations Officer of the Dolphin Head Local Forest Management Committee Co-operative Society, Norma Stennett-Gilzene, gave an overview of the initiative.
“We have a designated five-acre plot that we worked on with our farmers in the community of Kingsvale. It is a school where you do not use books and pencils, you are not enclosed in any buildings, so your (tools) are your forks, spades and machetes,” Mrs. Stennett-Gilzene pointed out.
“We have trained over 40 persons overall. We do it as we see a need, and persons also call us to help out,” she said, adding that 20 participants completed the programme.
The Farmer Field School was conceptualised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It was brought to the island by ACDI/VOCA, which is a private non-profit organisation that promotes broad-based economic growth, higher living standards, and vibrant communities in developing countries.
The goal of the Farmer Field School is to help Jamaican farmers improve the quantity, quality and consistency of crops. The initiative employs a participatory learning method that has been used internationally to empower farmers by actively involving them in crop management decision-making, and technology innovation and adoption.
The project is funded by the Canada Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Fund (CCDRM) and is done in partnership with the Forestry Department, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Jamaica Agricultural Society, and the Social Development Commission (SDC), Hanover Office.