Tue | Dec 6, 2016

First staging of Organic October in Ja

Published:Friday | October 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM
A piece of organically grown broccoli.

Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer

Raymond Martin, treasurer of the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement (JOAM), has stated that a higher level of productivity in the area of organic farming is needed in Jamaica.

It is with this in mind that the organisation is staging the first-ever Organic October in Jamaica.

The JOAM is a non-governmental organisation. Its main activities include lobbying and assisting in the development of a local organic agriculture industry.

The work is monitored and carried out by the executive body and by members of regional groups that are situated across the island. Individuals may participate by taking part in the activities in their five regions.

JOAM's mission

"The mission of JOAM is to facilitate the development of the organic industry in Jamaica. One of the things we recognised this year was that we really had to have a period where we showcased organics, and that is how Organic October came about," Martin told The Gleaner.

Martin stated that, since JOAM was founded in 2001, it has worked with several agencies such as the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, and trained several persons throughout the parishes in the area of organic farming.

ORGANIC FARMING METHODS

"Organic farming methods offer the best, currently available, practical model for addressing climate-friendly food production. This is because it is less dependent on oil-based fertilisers and pesticides, and confers resilience in the face of climatic extremes," said Dorienne Campbell, chairperson of the organisation.

Martin went on to highlight some of the industries that can benefit from organic products.

"For one, there is the area of tourism, as there are people coming to Jamaica expecting organic foods. However, the hotels are importing them in many instances. That should not be the case," he said.

"There are also instances where the doctors are advising their patients to stop eating foods that are grown with pesticides.