Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Ignore climate change to our peril – GG

Published:Wednesday | August 7, 2019 | 12:19 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Sir Patrick Allen
Sir Patrick Allen

Farming decisions and climate conditions are inextricably linked, and if we isolate them, it is to our detriment, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has warned.

Jamaica is listed as one of the top 40 climate hotspots in the world, meaning it is one of the countries that have already been, or will be, affected by climate change, Sir Patrick said as he addressed the 67th Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon on Monday.

“The experts tell us that drought conditions have been occurring more frequently worldwide because of the effects of global warming. This year, we have experienced drought conditions in many parts of this island and there have been irregular rainfall patterns and record-breaking high temperatures.

“All these and other climatic conditions will have a direct impact on food security, agricultural sustainability and other farming decisions. So the Caribbean region as a whole is vulnerable to climate change. We should not be caught off guard, but we must prepare and adapt ourselves to deal with these challenging times,” Sir Patrick warned.

The agricultural sector must, therefore, prepare for flooding, drought, praedial larceny, high and low temperatures, and hurricanes.

“These are our realities, these are the hazards of the sector, and so we must not be caught off guard,” he emphasised.

EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

The use of new and emerging technology can greatly assist in this regard, according to Sir Patrick.

“There are technological applications that can benefit sustainable agriculture and I encourage the farmers to embrace that technology and used modernism to its best advantage, as they seek to boost agricultural production. In the not-too-distant future, we may be using satellites and drones to improve farm management and resource efficiency and security.

“Children are the backbone of the family, and if we can get youngsters interested in agriculture at an early age and encourage them through family support, we may attract them to continue in it.

“Bring them in early and perhaps they will stay for supper, they will stay for the long haul,” he charged.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com