PPCR to Upgrade Jamaican Agricultural Station for Caribbean Climate Resilience

A seed storage facility in Jamaica is to be upgraded to bolster the Caribbean’s resilience to climate change in the agricultural sector, under the Regional Track of the Caribbean Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries (MICAF) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute (CARDI) was signed on April 25, 2018, to facilitate an upgrade of the Seed Storage Facility at Bodles Agricultural Research Station in St Catherine, Jamaica.

The MOU was signed by Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw and CARDI’s Executive Director, Barton Clarke. Support for this upgrade is being provided through the Regional Track PPCR, with funding from the Climate Investment Funds through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). CARDI is a PPCR co-implementing partner.

Upgrade activities will cover an expansion of the seed storage facility to include a new and improved cold room and storage areas and the acquisition of equipment including a seed batch dryer and standby power generator to keep the facility viable in the event of a power outage. The upgraded seed storage facility will also house seeds of climate resilient plant varieties. In keeping with the mandate of the PPCR, work to be carried out under the MOU aims at building the resilience of local and regional agriculture to climate change impacts.

Minister Audley Shaw commended the intervention as a timely one. He noted that it supports the current re-development work taking place at the agricultural station, all of which he said was critical to the building of a resilient agricultural sector. “Our aim is to return Bodles to pride of place as an agricultural center of excellence in the Caribbean,” he stated.

The CARDI executive director echoed this sentiment. Mr. Clarke explained that the upgrade would not only strengthen Jamaica’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and a changing climate but would also position the country as a leader to support CARDI’s work in safeguarding the region’s seed supplies. Mr. Clarke also pointed out that seed storage facilities in other Caribbean islands including St Vincent, Dominica and Haiti would also be strengthened under the project.

Senior Climate Change specialist with the IDB, Gerard Alleng, said his organization was pleased to be associated with, and to support, initiatives which demonstrate collaboration between countries and regional organizations. He highlighted the PPCR Caribbean’s unique approach to “supporting national programmes but also supporting regional organizations and countries to work together to prepare for significant climate shocks and the slow onset of climate change impacts.”

The Caribbean Regional Track of the PPCR supports applied climate change adaptation initiatives in critical sectors, including agriculture, water, health and fisheries in the Caribbean and in the six PPCR countries in the region, working with regional partners and national governments.