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White Horses residents to get jobs

Published:Saturday | August 10, 2019 | 12:09 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer

White Horses, St Thomas:

Residents of White Horses and surrounding environs in St Thomas will soon benefit from an agricultural project that according to its conceptualisers, will breed sustainable employment to members of the communities, particularly women.

The project, which is being called Hope and Development through Agriculture, is an initiative of resident and advocate Omar Ryan, in collaboration with the White Horses Botany Bay Pamphret Benevolent Society, and is being financed to the tune of $5million by the Special Climate Change Adaption Fund through partnership with the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Pilot Programme for Climate Change Resilience.

“There was a call for proposals from the EFJ that I did answer and submit all the necessary documentation. The intention is to train members of our community in greenhouse farming, establish the project as an economic project where an income can be earned for especially mothers and youths,” Omar Ryan told The Gleaner.

He added: “We are one of three organisations to get grant funds for our project, which was envisioned by me and spearheaded through the community’s benevolent society that is chaired by Mr Leonard James. The intention is to establish a resilient system of agriculture that has the potential of high yield and able to bring employment to our community,” Ryan explained.

The project manager told The Gleaner that the plan is expected to get under way at the White Horses Primary School within the next two months with the construction of the greenhouse.

He said: “It’s an effort involving the school, the benevolent society, and me. RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) and SDC (Social Development Commission) are on board as partners to help in the realisation of the objectives of the project.”

Targeting markets

“Our intention is to plant peppers and vegetables for local and international markets. Thanks to my friend Dr Kadamawe Knife, who alerted me to this opportunity last year summer.”

Explaining the decision to pursue the greenhouse, Ryan said: “It is a system set up to protect against harsh conditions of climate change, including strong winds, extreme sunshine, drought, and rain conditions, which negatively affects agriculture. Greenhouse is more sustainable and offers greater yields of crops during harvest time as well.

“It can be a great means of livelihood, and agriculture is on the up as everyone has to eat, therefore, food will always be needed.

“It is my personal hope that this project will bring sustainable, suitable employment to members of the community, particularly women.”

Ryan, who admitted that he is not a member of the benevolent society, noted that his dedication to community and parish encourages him to work closely with the organisation to see to the completion of said project.