Kitson Town, St Catherine residents benefit from FAO project Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

More than 80 residents from Kitson Town in St Catherine, who do livestock rearing and farming, are benefiting from the ‘Improving Rural Livelihoods through Resilient Agrifood Systems’ Project.

Being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the project aims to introduce innovative agricultural solutions to boost sustainable agriculture and rural development in the community.

The FAO has conducted a series of site assessments and validation activities to confirm suitability of locations identified by the beneficiaries and identify gaps.

Livestock specialist with the project, Cabrini Edwards said that Kitson Town is the largest livestock community in the English-speaking Caribbean, and farmers there need support.

“What we are trying to do is help those who need farm support with farming inputs and technology. We intend to go into the community and help them to farm in a way where they include technology in their farming practices to improve their output and farming practices. Because it is a changing environment, farmers need to adapt. So, we are here to help them with this process,” he said.

The livelihood assessments were conducted by the FAO project team, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC) and the Kitson Town Community Development Committee.

Site assessments conducted highlighted critical gaps as well as opportunities to build community, the economy and climate resilience.

Station manager at the Guanaboa Vale Police Station, Sergeant Navelette Leachman lauded the initiative for the impact it is expected to have on the community.

“I really appreciate this initiative because it will assist local farmers with their expansion. It will also boost other citizens to get on board with this project. It will increase job opportunities and also the produce will be of  satisfactory standard,” she said.

The assessment and other activities will seek to reduce climate and other vulnerabilities that impact agri-food systems as well as expand opportunities for greater income generation.

One of the selected beneficiaries for livestock support, 31-year-old poultry farmer, Roxanne Robinson, said she is grateful for the work done under the project.

“I didn’t have any help and it will motivate me and give me the driving spirit to move on with the little farm and to support me and my family,” she said.

Next steps include individual support by the National Project Steering Committee and the development of technical specifications for agricultural solutions to be provided to farmers.