Agriculture stakeholders, private sector organizations, research and educational institutions, financial institutions, government, and development assistance partners, charted a pathway to strengthening Jamaica’s resilience landscape at a learning symposium themed “Lessons in Resilience Building: Towards Replication and Sustainability. The event hosted by the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) the Spanish Court Hotel last Thursday, October 4, 2018.

Aspiring young entrepreneur, Steven McNeish from Makabee Enterprise delights a symposium attendee with a body butter made from bee hive products.

The overarching goal of the event was to secure sustainability for successful project outcomes with a view to replicate the approaches in new communities with similar challenges to the ones engaged. A mixture of visualizations, exhibitions, and expert presentations were used to facilitate the learning exchange. Agribusiness participants and financial institutions present, analyzed themes such as promoting access to agriculture financing and the significance of tailor-made loan products for the sector. As a result of the project’s work, financial institutions can better identify with farmers’ needs through an improved understanding of agricultural production cycles.  Agriculture enterprises are also more au fait with the lending process and are better equipped to access formal financial services to upgrade agribusiness operations.

Cynthia Martin (2nd right), farmer and IPP of the Fruitful Vale Benevolent Society makes a point during the panel discussion on pathways to achieving resilience moderated by (left) Gerald Lindo Energy Project Management Specialist at USAID. She is joined by (L-R) Marina Young, Principal Director of Technical Services at RADA; Peter Whyte, Marketing and Promotions Manager at National People’s Co-operative Bank; Dr. Derrick Deslandes, President of the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE); Spencer Jarret, Senior Lecturer, CASE and Jacqueline Shaw – Nicholson Communication and Client Services Manager at JN Small Business Loans.

“The collaboration between National People’s Co-operative Bank (NPCB) and Ja REEACH has added greater value to NPCB giving us the roadmap as to how we can develop better products to service our target market. This symposium was a good platform for us take the work that Ja REEACH has done, merge with our experience to add more value to agriculture and propel the country forward in terms of economic development”, highlighted Peter Whyte, Marketing and Promotions Manager at National People’s Co-operative Bank, a Ja REEACH II financial partner institution.

The symposium also explored advocacy for the protection of natural resources and livelihoods in watershed communities; strengthening of governance and management capacity at and national levels to manage and mitigate disaster risks. Thematic area examined several screening processes including the ODPEM- developed and Ja REEACH-revised Building Disaster Resilient Communities (BDRC), to build awareness of climate hazards and train community members in climate-smart action planning.

Performer, Apexx prompts a reaction from Garvey Maceo High School students during his performance of Protect the Environment

A special feature of the event was an artistic showcase dubbed Advocacy Through Creative Expression, which demonstrated how the arts and digital media products can be used as a tool in promoting advocacy for climate change actions. The edutainment segment featured the launch of a three-part animated video on climate change which will be shared with project stakeholders and the wider public in communicating climate change impacts; adaptation and mitigation solutions.  The day closed with the performance of environmental songs by youth engaged through an Environmental Advocacy Through Music Workshop previously held by the project.

For over 8 years, Ja REEACH through collaboration with government, the private sector and community-based partners have worked across 181 communities to increase the resilience of targeted livelihoods and ecosystems.

Aspiring artistes Unique and Xplosyv perform their song Clean Up the Environment during the Advocacy Through Creative Expression showcase
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