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Multi-million-dollar Project Set to Modernize Jamaica’s Agricultural Sector

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KINGSTON, Jamaica,
Thursday April 4, 2019 –
Jamaican farmers
will be getting a £16.7 million (US$21.9 million) boost to help them increase
productivity and gain greater market access.

This has been made possible through a grant from the United
Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) under the UK Caribbean
Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF) which is administered by the Caribbean
Development Bank (CDB).

The Board of Directors of CDB agreed to the grant for the
Southern Plains Agricultural Development Project (SPAD) which will target 795
hectares of government-owned lands which will be leased to farmers in the
communities of Amity Hall in St. Catherine and Parnassus in Clarendon. It will
provide essential agricultural production and market infrastructure and
marketing systems for the farmers.

Small and medium sized farmers will make up the majority of
the beneficiaries with 495 hectares allocated for them. Some 15 per cent of the
space – 124 hectares – will be reserved for women farmers and 70 hectares for
young farmers.

The planned infrastructure works, incorporating climate resilience
measures, will include: improved irrigation, drainage and flood control
systems; and farm roads expansion and rehabilitation.

Farmers will also benefit from marketing systems enhancement,
including the construction of new pack houses and associated facilities in
support of farmer compliance with the GLOBAL G.A.P standard. These structures
will incorporate both renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

CDB Director of Projects Daniel Best said the project is
aligned with the recently launched Essex Valley Agricultural Project in St.
Elizabeth, Jamaica and once again demonstrated how strategic investments in
agriculture could help transform the Region’s economies.

“We know that agriculture has the potential to drive economic
growth in the Caribbean and so we’re excited to support this very significant
project. A preliminary finding from an ongoing CDB-financed study – the ‘State
of Agriculture in the Caribbean’, is the need for modernisation of our systems,
techniques and structures to push agriculture to the next level. We know that
farming done right can create better lives and reduce poverty in our
communities. This project is geared to helping make that happen for Jamaicans
and we are pleased to partner with the government and people of Jamaica on it,”
said Best.

He also highlighted the project’s focus on creating linkages
with other industries, particularly retail, processing and tourism, adding:

“Aligning agriculture and tourism, another major industry in
Jamaica, was also a key factor in our support for this project. As it stands
right now, the demands of high value markets within the tourism and retail
sectors are largely met by imports. If we equip our farmers with
state-of-the-art systems, they can provide high quality, safe and nutritious
products to those markets in a timely and consistent manner.”

The project is consistent CDB’s corporate priority of supporting agriculture and rural development and its strategic objectives of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth. It also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to end poverty and zero hunger as well as SDG 5 of gender equality and SDG 8 of decent work and economic growth.

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States of Emergency in Jamaica Trigger Canada to Issue Travel Advisory

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday
October 14, 2019
– The Canadian Government has issued a travel advisory for
Jamaica due to “a significant increase in violent crime since the beginning of
the year” that has caused several states of emergency (SOEs) to be imposed
across the country.

It has advised Canadians to “exercise a high degree of caution” in
the island.

The update issued a few days ago, pointed to the SOEs in the
parishes of Clarendon and St Catherine, which are in effect until October 19; the
three in effect until October 28 – Hanover, St James where the popular vacation
resort town of Montego Bay is located, and Westmoreland, also home to the
resort area of Negril; and the St Andrew SOE which will remain in place until
January 4.

Under the SOEs, security forces have increased power to conduct
searches, seizures, and detain persons of interest. Curfews may also be imposed
without notice.

The Canadian government has advised citizens from the North
American country who are in the areas affected by the SOEs to: always cooperate
with military and police officers; carry valid ID at all times and be prepared
for various checkpoints; avoid outings outside the resort after dark; allow
extra time to reach your destination; follow the instructions of local
authorities; and monitor local news to stay informed on the current situations.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett acknowledged that the travel advisory is a cause for concern, but he also said the international travel market had become more aware of efforts by Jamaica to address its crime problem.

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UN Migration Agency Launches US$10 million Appeal to Support Hurricane The Bahamas’ Hurricane Dorian Recovery

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NASSAU, The Bahamas,
Monday October 14, 2019
– The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched
a US$10 million appeal to assist The Bahamas as the country continues to
recover from the devastation brought on by Hurricane Dorian just over a month
ago.

The funding will support IOM operations in areas such as camp
coordination and management, provision of shelter and non-food items, and
emergency evacuations through April 2020.

“Hurricane Dorian caused widespread devastation on the islands of
Abaco, from Marsh Harbour to the North, and Grand Bahama; from Pelican Point
east to McLean’s Town; leaving behind a trail of destroyed infrastructure,
clogged with debris from devastated houses, domestic goods, vehicles and
natural debris like trees and mangroves, uprooted by the storm surge,” said IOM
officer, Nazif Aliu.

Hurricane Dorian hit the northern Bahamas from September 1 to 3,
devastating Abaco and Grand Bahama. In addition to the destruction, the
Category 5 storm caused 61 deaths while more than 600 people are still missing.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the country shortly
afterwards, describing the disaster as “Category Hell”.

IOM has established two offices in The Bahamas—one in the capital,
Nassau, and the other on Abaco—with a third planned for Grand Bahama.

The organization is already supporting the country through grants
from the United States and the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund, representing nearly
US$2 million of the appeal.

The funding has allowed IOM to begin debris removal in Abaco, in
partnership with the NGO Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE).

“We are removing over 100 cubic meters of debris daily. This
operation is coordinated with the government of The Bahamas, through its
emergency response agency NEMA, which is leading the organized planning of
debris removal”, said Aliu, who is based in Abaco.

The Bahamian authorities have also formally requested IOM to help relocate citizens stranded in the United States after their evacuation following Hurricane Dorian.

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Jamaica Considers Building Another Airport

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Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague, speaking at a ceremony for the presentation of an Aerodrome Operator Certificate to the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA). Seated beside him is Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Dr. Janine Dawkins. (Credit: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday
October 14, 2019
– Transport and Mining Minister Robert Montague says Government
is exploring the feasibility of building an airport in Mandeville, Manchester,
to meet aviation needs on the island’s south coast.

“I have given instructions to the Airports Authority of Jamaica
(AAJ) to look at Mandeville, because Mandeville is an area that is
underserved,” he said, adding that the necessary studies are being done to
identify an ideal location.

In the meantime, the Minister said that a number of upgrades are
being carried out at some of the country’s aerodromes.

“We have put in pilot lounges and we have upgraded the security
features and the general facilities. We have done that at the Tinson Pen
Aerodrome (Kingston) and the Ken Jones Aerodrome in Port Antonio (Portland),” he
said.

Work is also being undertaken at the Negril Aerodrome in
Westmoreland to improve drainage.

“We were discussing with the operators of the Lionel Denshan
Aerodrome (St. Elizabeth) to do a one-off investment to upgrade that airport,” Montague
said.

“We are also looking at revitalising the old airstrip at Holland
Bamboo on the Holland Estate because we have a world-class attraction in the
Appleton Estate right there and we also have the plans of the Government to put
in an agricultural economic development zone. Air travel, to move the goods to
market quickly, will facilitate the success of that [venture].”

Jamaica has two international airports – Norman Manley
International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in Montego
Bay, the most popular airport for tourists visiting the north coast of Jamaica –
as well as several other airstrips and aerodromes.

Earlier this month, the NMIA earned an Aerodrome Operator Certificate from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, signifying that it has met the required international safety and security standards for aerodrome operations.

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