KINGSTON, Jamaica -- A land and water use development plan and blueprint for an aquaculture action plan for Jamaica are almost a reality, with plans by the ACP Fish II Programme to unveil these strategies on Wednesday.
Following the preliminary report in July on the study conducted under the guidance of international consultants, it is expected that the minister of agriculture and fisheries and representatives from the European Union (EU) will be on hand with scores of other senior government representatives and regulators, along with private sector stakeholders and farmers to hear the final report with a view to validate it.
“For the past five months there has been extensive work analysing areas to be targeted for aquaculture production to determine the best practices and opportunities for fresh water farming, oyster culture and mariculture. Additionally, through participatory research, strategies for the revitalisation of the aquaculture sub-sector and promotion of aquaculture products and by-products were examined,” commented Avery Smikle, director of the Aquaculture Branch at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
“Additionally, the project facilitated the identification of areas most appropriate for aquaculture activities. This was made possible using existing data from several Government agencies and computer modelling. The project collected data across the country by utilising questionnaires, case studies, rapid appraisals and focus group meetings,” said Smikle.
It is the results from these activities that are anticipated, a move that has been welcomed by Jamaica’s agriculture minister, Roger Clarke, who earlier this year unveiled his own plans to position Jamaica’s agriculture to new heights.
“The aquaculture sub-sector has experienced almost a fifty per cent decline in the past five years. The outputs from the ACP Fish II Programme supports the thrust to revive the industry, particularly in light of the depletion of the marine resources and other aims for agricultural development and the achievement of our food and nutrition strategies,” stated Clarke.
In turning to the collaborative efforts of his ministry, Clarke praised the Fisheries Division and the Rural Physical Planning Division.
“Let me express my appreciation for commitment to the mandate of the ministry to secure lands for agriculture and implement measures to close the gap on imports. The government of Jamaica further extends gratitude to the technical consultants from SOFRECO and the European Union for providing funding that has propelled our plans,” Clarke said.
Efforts for the marketing and promotion of the consumption of aquaculture products and by-products will get a much needed boost as following the presentation of the final report, the opportunity will be seized to demonstrate the preparation and tasting of tilapia as exhibited by Jamaica Culinary Federation, Longville Farms and Dr Marc Panton.
The ACP Fish II Programme is a four and a half year, EUR€30.0 million programme funded by the European Union through the European Development Fund (EDF). It has been formulated to strengthen fisheries management, improve food security and alleviate poverty in 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states.
“The cornerstone of the Programme is devising sound policies and plans to ensure sustainable use of fisheries and the development of value-added activities. Therefore, in addition to improving plans and policies at the regional and national levels, ACP Fish II Programme will also see results such as reinforcing the region’s control and enforcement capabilities; reinforcing research strategies and initiatives as well as developing business supportive regulatory framework and increasing knowledge sharing at all levels in the sector”, advised Dr Sandra Grant, regional programme manager for the Caribbean of the ACP Fish II Programme.