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The Forestry Department has secured a commitment to plant one million fruit and timber trees over the next three years from Food for the Poor Jamaica in support of the National Tree Planting Initiative “Three Million Trees in Three Years”, under a programme dubbed, “Fruits for the Poor”. 

The announcement was made by Director of Agriculture & Fisheries at Food for the Poor, Mr. Nakhle Hado during a tree planting event organized by the Forestry Department in observance of Youth Month, under the theme, ‘ReThinkYOUth’, at the Boulevard Baptist Church on Wednesday, November 25. 

“Food for the Poor is pleased to embark on this initiative to be involved in the restoration of our environment and are extremely happy to be planting the first set of trees at two homes that involve youth empowerment,” he said.

About 25 trees were planted at the Homestead Place of Safety and the Wortley Home for Girls as part of the Fruits for the Poor Programme on Wednesday.

Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Pearnel Charles Jr. in commending Food for the Poor for partnering with the Forestry Department in support of the 3 in 3 initiative, noted that he will be seeking to expand the ‘fruit for the poor’ initiative to other corporate entities.

In providing an update on the National Tree Planting Programme, Minister Charles said that the Forestry Department had taken practical steps to ensure the programme’s success by ramping up the production of seedlings. He also said that 250,000 seedlings, a mixture of timber, ornamental and fruit, have been planted and distributed and another 70,000 are scheduled to be distributed and planted before the end of 2020.

“I want to also give special commendations to the corporate entities that are working with us to help advance the National Tree Planting Initiative; GraceKennedy Limited, Wisynco Group Limited, Noranda Bauxite and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica which will collectively facilitate the planting and care of more than 700,000 trees,” he said.

He further noted that the commitments of these organizations should serve as motivation for other corporate entities to also make their pledges towards to a healthy natural environment.

Meanwhile, the Minister is making a special appeal to young people to start rethinking their role in environmental management and the impact of their actions as well environmental policies and programmes that are implemented and their far reaching impact across the country.

“It is for you to be the agitators, to be coordinators and the instigators of tree planting in your school and to teach them, lead them in understanding the importance of the initiative. Not only is it a matter of beautification, but it is a matter of our own existence as our lives depend on the capacity of trees to help in sustaining lives,” Minister Charles said. 

Minister Charles says he envisions a future generation of leaders who have inherent in their contemplation and thinking, the importance, the awareness and understanding of why planting trees is important.

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