USAID Mission Director, Maura Barry and College of Agriculture, Science and Education President Dr. Derrick Deslandes prepare a breadfruit seedling for planting on the Agroforestry tutorial farm.

USAID Mission Director Maura Barry completed her inaugural tour of select Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) project sites December 1-2, 2016. The Ja REEACH II project is a four-year initiative funded by USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA.  Ja REEACH II works with government, the private sector, civil society, and community-based organizations to increase awareness and application of practical actions that help Jamaicans become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

During her two days of visits, Mission Director Barry engaged St. Catherine-based farmers who previously participated in Ja REEACH-led farmer field school. She also visited a Portland-based educational institution that partners with the project to support the transfer of natural resource management best practices to students and farmers.

At the demonstration plot field visit in St. Catherine, project participants showcased climate-smart agriculture applications such as rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, and plastic mulch. Through project-supported training and grant assistance, these farmers have applied a number of climate-smart best practices that have allowed them to sell their produce to supermarkets and other buyers despite challenges such as drought, changing temperatures, and increased incidence of pest and disease.

USAID mission director visits Jamacia JaREEACH

USAID Mission Director Maura Barry with the farmers from Mount Pleasant, St. Catherine.

Mission Director Barry toured the facilities at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education. Ja REEACH II has partnered with the institution to establish a climate-smart agriculture (CSA) learning plot on campus. The two-acre tutorial farm will serve both the project team and the College in complementary efforts to share information on the best practices that not only protect watersheds and communities from climate change and disaster impacts, but also create income from the resulting produce.  Approximately 50 students at the College are already utilizing the site as a research and learning center. Farmers from neighboring watersheds where Ja REEACH II works, such as Swift River in Portland, will be brought to the site to view the innovations and receive training.