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A total of US$7.2 million will be made available to micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism and agricultural sectors, to finance climate change adaptation initiatives islandwide.
The money, which will be in the form of loans and grants, is being provided under the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism Project, a component of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) in Jamaica.
The Project is a five-year initiative which aims to increase Jamaica’s resilience to climate change, through enhancing adaptive capacity across priority sectors.
This component of the PPCR is being implemented by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The initiative was formalised during a signing ceremony at Jamaica House in St. Andrew, on July 28.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell; Managing Director, Development Bank of Jamaica, Milverton Reynolds; General Manager, JN Small Business Loans, Gillian Hyde; and Programme Manager, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), Allison Rangolan McFarlane.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said the Government intends to increase its efforts to pursue long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable, climate-resilient economic growth.
“As a Government, we have pledged to protect the environment while creating jobs to drive the engine of economic growth, and we cannot allow climate change and other environmental impacts to impede us,” he said.
The Minister thanked all the partners involved in the initiative, noting that it represents an excellent opportunity to build on the work that has already begun in fostering sustainable development through partnership.
For her part, Ms. Hyde said the new loan facility will be open to qualified MSME beneficiaries who will be eligible for a loan amount between $200,000 and $5 million.
She pointed out that the loan will be available at a maximum interest rate of four per cent per annum.
For her part, Ms. Rangolan McFarlane said the money will be accessible to community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, other civil-society groups and selected public-sector agencies, for clearly defined high-priority activities.
She added that these should be related to building the resilience of the natural environment and contributing to livelihood protection and poverty reduction.
General Manager, Country Department, Caribbean Group, Inter-American Development Bank, Therese Turner Jones, said the initiative is another in a series of partnerships to assist in the development of the country.
“We are looking to see how this pilot is going to work, so we can think about replicating this elsewhere in the region,” she said, adding that the initiative is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
The project involves a Climate Change Adaptation Line of Credit and a special Climate Change Adaptation Fund.
The Line of Credit will provide loan financing to help MSMEs in the tourism and agricultural sectors to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The loans will be administered by the JN Small Business Loans Limited. The sum of US$2.5 million is being provided for this.
The Adaptation Fund will provide grants to adaptation and disaster risk reduction projects and finance the associated programme management costs.
Grants will be provided using the successful EFJ grant-making model. The EFJ will be the Fund Administrator for the US$4.7 million being provided.
Credit: Jamaica Information Service
“The disparity between the very rich and the very poor in Jamaica means that persons living in poverty, persons living below the poverty line, women heading households with large numbers of children and the elderly are greatly disadvantaged during this period,” Judith Wedderburn, Jamaica project director at the non-profit German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), told IPS.“The food production line gets disrupted and the cost of food goes up, so already large numbers of families living in poverty have even greater difficulty in accessing locally grown food at reasonable prices.” — Judith Wedderburn of FES
“The concern is that as the climate change implications are extended for several years that these kinds of situations are going to become more and more extreme, [such as] greater floods with periods of extreme drought.”
Wedderburn, who spoke with IPS on the sidelines of a FES and Panos Caribbean workshop for journalists held here earlier this month, said Caribbean countries – which already have to grapple with a finite amount of space for food production – now have the added challenges of extreme rainfall events or droughts due to climate change.
“In Jamaica, we’ve had several months of drought, which affected the most important food production parishes in the country,” she said, adding that the problem does not end when the drought breaks.
“We are then affected by extremes of rainfall which results in flooding. The farming communities lose their crops during droughts [and] families associated with those farmers are affected. The food production line gets disrupted and the cost of food goes up, so already large numbers of families living in poverty have even greater difficulty in accessing locally grown food at reasonable prices and that contributes to substantial food insecurity – meaning people cannot easily access the food that they need to keep their families well fed.”
One local researcher predicts that things are likely to get even worse. Dale Rankine, a PhD candidate at the University of the West Indies (UWI), told IPS that climate change modelling suggests that the region will be drier heading towards the middle to the end of the century.
“We are seeing projections that suggest that we could have up to 40 percent decrease in rainfall, particularly in our summer months. This normally coincides with when we have our major rainfall season,” Rankine said.
“This is particularly important because it is going to impact most significantly on food security. We are also seeing suggestions that we could have increasing frequency of droughts and floods, and this high variability is almost certainly going to impact negatively on crop yields.”
He pointed to “an interesting pattern” of increased rainfall over the central regions, but only on the outer extremities, while in the west and east there has been a reduction in rainfall.
“This is quite interesting because the locations that are most important for food security, particularly the parishes of St. Elizabeth [and] Manchester, for example, are seeing on average reduced rainfall and so that has implications for how productive our production areas are going to be,” Rankine said.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced recently that September 2014 was the hottest in 135 years of record keeping. It noted that during September, the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius), which was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.
According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Centre, the first nine months of 2014 had a global average temperature of 58.72 degrees (14.78 degrees Celsius), tying with 1998 for the warmest first nine months on record.
Robert Pickersgill, Jamaica’s water, land, environment and climate change minister, said more than 18,000 small farmers have been affected by the extreme drought that has been plaguing the country for months.
He said the agricultural sector has lost nearly one billion dollars as a result of drought and brush fires caused by extreme heat waves.
Pickersgill said reduced rainfall had significantly limited the inflows from springs and rivers into several of the country’s facilities.
“Preliminary rainfall figures for the month of June indicate that Jamaica received only 30 per cent of its normal rainfall and all parishes, with the exception of sections of Westmoreland (54 percent), were in receipt of less than half of their normal rainfall. The southern parishes of St Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, St Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Thomas along with St Mary and Portland were hardest hit,” Pickersgill said.
Clarendon, he said, received only two percent of its normal rainfall, followed by Manchester with four percent, St. Thomas six percent, St. Mary eight percent, and 12 percent for Kingston and St. Andrew.
Additionally, Pickersgill said that inflows into the Mona Reservoir from the Yallahs and Negro Rivers are now at 4.8 million gallons per day, which is among the lowest since the construction of the Yallahs pipeline in 1986, while inflows into the Hermitage Dam are currently at six million gallons per day, down from more than 18 million gallons per day during the wet season.
“It is clear to me that the scientific evidence that climate change is a clear and present danger is now even stronger. As such, the need for us to mitigate and adapt to its impacts is even greater, and that is why I often say, with climate change, we must change,” Pickersgill told IPS.
Wedderburn said Jamaica must take immediate steps to adapt to climate change.
“So the challenge for the government is to explore what kinds of adaptation methods can be used to teach farmers how to do more successful water harvesting so that in periods of severe drought their crops can still grow so that they can have food to sell to families at reasonable prices to deal with the food insecurity.”
Credit: IPS News
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) supported the region’s first National Consultation on a Framework for Climate Services in Belize last week (October 30- November 1, 2013). The consultation, organized in association with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the National Meteorological Service of Belize, and the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), sought to advance the priorities under the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) by focusing on:
Assessing climate services needs in the agriculture and food security sector based on generated climate information in the country;
Recommending effective mechanisms and practices to improve interfacing and interactionsbetween climate service providers and users;
Articulating the capacity building needs in terms of mandates, infrastructure and human resources for all the components of GFCS;
Recommending actions to improve productions, sustainable operations and accessibility for climate predictions and services to aid the flow of climate information from global and regional scale to national and local scales;
Charting a roadmap for the effective development and application of climate services in support of agriculture and food security and other climate sensitive sectors in Belize,particularly water, which is of strategic import to the Agricultural Sector of theCaribbean Region.
The consultation brought together key decision-makers and users from the initial four priority areas under the GFCS: agriculture and food security, water, health and disaster risk reduction. It identified suitable mechanisms for improving and sustaining the flow of climate information to users with particular focus on agriculture and food security. The exercise also sought to enhance understanding of the need for climate services on sectors most impacted by climate change that can be implemented at the national level across the Caribbean.
The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) was established in 2009 at the World Climate Conference-3, which was organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in collaboration with other United Nations (UN) agencies, governments and partners to steer the development of climate services worldwide.
The vision of the GFCS is to enable society to better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability and change, especially for those who are most vulnerable to such risks.
The GFCS, which was launched in the Caribbean in May 2013, use five components for the production, delivery and application of climate information and services in the four priority areas outlined:
User Interface Platform
Climate Services Information System
Observations and Monitoring
Research, Modelling and Prediction
The next National Consultation on a Framework for Climate Services will be held in Barbados.
The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) recently launched a set of risk training modules developed by the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) to enhance risk assessment and management in the agricultural sector. CARDI says the risk management training focuses on the threats, challenges and opportunities for managing Invasive Species and Climate Change. The “Risk Mitigation for Smallholder Agricultural Production in the Caribbean” training modules were developed with funding from the World Bank and are available to the public at no cost. You may peruse the modules here.