Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jamaican drought 'burns' farmers

Luke Douglas in the Jamaica Observer: …[C]limate change is resulting in lower yields, more diseases and more problems for farmers throughout Jamaica and the Caribbean. And the long-term outlook is no better.

"In Jamaica going up to 2050, it progressively gets warmer. It does not matter which scenario you take, it puts us as hotter, anywhere between one and five degrees by the end of the century," head of the department of physics at the University of the West Indies, and director of the Climate Change Group, Dr Michael Taylor told participants at [a recent] workshop, held at the Altamont Court Hotel in Kingston.

….It is not clear how comforting the words of Elaine Emmanuel of the Planning Institute of Jamaica would be to the farmers … eking out a living on parched lands in rural Jamaica. Emmanuel outlined aspects of Vision 2030 -- the ambitious development plan to make Jamaica the place to live, work and raise families by the year 2030 -- and the fact that efforts to tackle climate change and develop sustainable agriculture were themes deeply embedded in the document. The 21-year plan, further broken down into seven three-year "bite size" implementation pieces incorporating all Government ministries and agencies includes, among other things:
* plans to strengthen the ability to reduce hazards;
* adaptation of the agricultural sector to climate change;
* developing measures to reduce global climate change;
* undertaking research and communication to educate the public; as well as
* reforestation and promoting the use of cleaner technologies.

But despite all the plans, farmers say they are not feeling the effect of the Government action. "Mocho is an agricultural area and they send only one extension officer here. There needs to be better deployment of resources from areas which are not as dependent on agriculture to areas where it is people's main source of livelihood," Horace Fisher of the Mocho Community Development Association told Environment Watch….

Milking a cow at Denbigh Agricultural in Jamaica, shot by Ryftcode, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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