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IICA Rehabilitates Fishing Beaches with RE

Three fishing beaches, rehabilitated under the Improving Jamaica’s Agricultural Productivity (IJAP) programme, were officially handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) on October 7, 2011.

Renovated at a cost of $81 million, the Old Harbour Bay, Savanna-la-Mar, and Rocky Point fishing beaches located in St. Catherine, Westmoreland, and Clarendon respectively, were handed over during an IICA Day ceremony at the institute’s Hope Gardens location in Kingston.

They are three of six major fishing beaches that were slated to be upgraded under the Sustainable Marine Fisheries Management component of IJAP.

The project forms part of Government’s overall strategy to rehabilitate some 187 beaches, from which approximately 40,000 fisher folk and other stakeholders operate and earn their livelihood.

IJAP involves the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), IICA, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It comprises two components focusing on expanding green house production and encouraging sustainable management of the marine fisheries sector.

The initiative is being funded through a C$4.9 million grant from CIDA; C$134,956 from the IICA; and C$1.5 million from the Ministry. The Ministry, through its agencies, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), and the Fisheries Division, is the implementing agency for the project, while IICA is the executing agency on behalf of CIDA.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Robert Montague expressed his gratitude to CIDA and IICA on behalf of the people of Jamaica, particularly the fisher folk and the communities of the three beneficiary beaches.

“Thank you for the kind gift and (we) assure you that we will be maintaining these beaches and we’ll be using them to improve not only the communities but the livelihood of the fisherfolk in those specific areas,” he said.

Minister Montague further made a donation to each of the communities “of some $500,000 towards an alternate energy system to light up those beaches.”

“In these days of high electricity bills or climate change matters and reducing our carbon foot print, I think it is time we begin seriously to invest in different alternate energy systems, and if we find one which is homegrown and even if it is a little bit more expensive, I believe we should invest in it, because we are investing in the future of our country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Head of Development Cooperation at CIDA, Marie LeGault, noted that the project has contributed to supporting economic renewal and supporting human capital formation in Jamaica.

“This programme which has a lot of lessons learnt over the last four years, will help us improve our programming and support in the region,” she said.

Project Manager for the Sustainable Marine Fisheries Management component of IJAP, Peter Reid, informed that the overall scope of the undertaking entailed new construction, or upgrading, to provide adequate vending facilities, secure gear sheds, designated net mending areas, sanitary facilities and environmentally responsible waste disposal systems.

The remaining fishing beaches earmarked for rehabilitation are at Calabash Bay and Black River, St. Elizabeth; and Negril, Westmoreland. The project, which began in 2010, is expected to end next year.

IICA is a technical cooperation agency within the Inter-American System. IICA encourages and supports the efforts of its 34 member states across the Americas and the Caribbean to achieve sustainable agricultural development and well being for their rural populations. The Jamaica office opened its doors in 1975 and became the first IICA outpost to be established among the English-speaking Caribbean member states.

IICA Day was celebrated in recognition of the agency’s 69th anniversary.

Category/ies:Jamaica News.
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