FAO in Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize

Kitson Town community embraces entrepreneurship and innovative agriculture in new livelihood project


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in partnership with the United Nations South-South Cooperation and the Governments of India and Jamaica, has unveiled the 'Improving Rural Livelihoods through Resilient Agrifood Systems' project, ushering in a transformative phase for sustainable agriculture and rural development in the community of Kitson Town, St. Catherine. The project launch was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Tuesday October 3, 2023.

The project’s main aim is to provide skills training and introduce innovative agricultural solutions. The initiative is a response to the limited skills and knowledge of vulnerable groups especially women and youth in managing business risks related to crop and livelihood losses due to climate challenges.

Over a two-year span 150 residents, including farmers, women, and youth hailing from the 26 districts will be supported to improve income and employment prospects. This will be achieved through the introduction of state-of-the-art, climate-resilient agricultural technologies and entrepreneurship training. In addition to entrepreneurship training, the beneficiaries will be provided business incubation opportunities through the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

In bringing remarks on behalf of Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Permanent Secretary Sancia Bennett Templer highlighted the involvement of JBDC to support participants in developing market and export readiness as well expertise in operating farms as businesses.

President of the Kitson Town Community Development Committee, Devon Thompson conveyed the sentiments of the community in anticipation of the project. “Our dream, our mantra here is to encourage, engage and empower while we create social value in the community. A project like this one, it is developed for Kitson Town and my dream is to see entrepreneurship, farming, trainings and all of those things especially for young people”, said Thompson.

Among the agriculture solutions integrated into the project are solar-powered drip irrigation systems, greenhouse farming, soilless cultivation methods such as hydroponics and aeroponics, water harvesting and storage facilities, and a solar-powered facility for drying and packaging.

FAO Representative for Jamaica, Bahamas & Belize, Dr Crispim Moreira noted that “these technologies are not just tools; they are pathways to prosperity, avenues for self-sufficiency, and instruments of empowerment.”


Dr Moreira further acknowledged the focus on youth as a catalyst for rural development. “Focusing on youth is an investment in the future. Engaging and educating young people in sustainable agriculture not only ensures food security but also cultivates a new generation of environmentally conscious farmers and entrepreneurs”.

Citing the country’s climate vulnerability, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Minin, Hon. Floyd Green endorsed the timeliness of the initiative and the responsive technologies to strengthen community and economic resilience. “Now, here in agriculture, we have witnessed, first-hand, the effects that climate-change has had on our sector, with prolonged droughts and heavy rains severely affecting production”.


“We have long-established the need for systems, technologies, and initiatives to be implemented to combat those challenges. FAO, having recognized Jamaica’s challenges, have stepped in, and are seeking to enhance the economic empowerment of small-scale and disadvantaged food producers through training and technology, which will ultimately lead to the establishment of inclusive agri-food systems as well as business prospects for women and youth in Kitson Town, St. Catherine”, said Minister Green.


High Commissioner of India to Jamaica, His Excellency Masakui Rungsung, highlighted the importance of strengthening international cooperation by supporting locally focused initiatives. “This project is very dear to Government of India because it was announced by my Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] in the First India-CARICOM Summit in 2019. The project is not only the symbol of our unfaltering relationship and mutual friendship but also a reflection of the Jamaica government’s commitment to the need of the people at the grassroots level”.


Other partners supporting the project include the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the HEART/NSTA, the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce through the Jamaica Business Development Corporation and the Department of Co-operatives and Friendly Societies.