Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Blue Mountain farmers trained in fire prevention and management

Published:Wednesday | October 25, 2017 | 12:01 PM
In this file photo Mansy Hardy works of on his Christmas Tree farm in Penlyne Castle, nestled in the Blue Mountains.

More than 100 farmers in the Blue Mountain range and neighbouring communities have been trained in preventive measures and early management of forest fires.

The training was conducted with the support of the Forestry Department, the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

The intervention is seen as important, following extensive damage in 2015 to the agriculture sector in East-rural St Andrew and Western St Thomas by uncontrolled forest fires, which gutted communities like Mavis Bank, Content Gap, Windsor Forest, Lime Tree, Craige Hill and Westphalia.

The fires wiped out large acres of coffee, banana, pineapple and vegetables and left wide-scale destruction to livestock, property and forests.

The Jamaica Agricultural Society estimated losses at close to half a billion dollars.

Through a series of peer group-based learning sessions called farmer field schools, 138 farmers in the St Andrew communities of Content Gap, Westphalia and the St Thomas communities of Penlyne Castle, Windsor Forest and Windsor Castle are now better equipped to prevent and manage the flames.