Farmers around Stephney-John's Vale forest reserve get training

Over 300 hundred farmers and residents living in and around the Stephney-John’s Vale Forest Reserve received training in the proper use and application of pesticides, as part of capacity building workshops held recently by the Forestry Department.

The workshops were held as part of the sustainable livelihoods component of the Jamaica Rural Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) reforestation initiative being implemented in the Stephney-John’s Vale Forest Reserve and sought to sensitize residents in four communities during May.

Farmers from Stephney, Hessen Castle, Grants Mountain in St. Ann and Douglas Castle in Clarendon were very grateful for the training which was provided by Mr. Eric Williams, Technical Representative at Hi PRO and Mr. Mario Smith and Mr. Rohan Smith, Extension Officers from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). “I must say sir, you save a lot of life. We will go back and do the right thing,” Ms. Sylvia Mitchell, President of the Stephney Local Forest Management Committee said in thanking Mr. Williams for his presentation. 

Among the topics covered in the training were the correct pesticides to use to spray crops, the appropriate time to apply the pesticides, types of pesticides, the correct application of pesticides, natural alternatives to the use of pesticides and proper equipment to safely apply pesticides. 

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA and the Forestry Department is seeking to reforest 200 hectares of lands within the Rio Bueno Watershed Management Unit, specifically the Stephney-John’s Vale Forest Reserve and also to provide alternative livelihoods for residents who live off the forests reserve. Activities being undertaken include the development of six agroforestry demonstration plots; the training of 200 farmers in agro forestry practices and holding of community workshops.  

The Stephney-John’s Vale forest reserve is one of the larger forest reserves in Jamaica covering 6,675 hectares, and stretching across St. Ann and Clarendon.