Jamaican Adaptive Agriculture Program
Sustainable food systems represent one of the greatest development challenges of the coming decade, especially in the face of climate change. To confront that challenge, INMED has adopted an innovative food production technique known as aquaponics, combining aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (soilless crop production). INMED experts have modified the technique to use “off the shelf” local materials, making it inexpensive and therefore more accessible to poor families and communities.
Aquaponic systems are roughly 10 times as productive as equivalently sized plots that are traditionally cultivated, and protect both the quantity and quality of water resources by requiring no chemical fertilizers or pesticides and utilizing 85-90% less water than traditional irrigation techniques.
The aquaponic systems produce fish, usually tilapia, a hardy, fast-growing and widely consumed fish, and nutritious fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs that provide food security among families, schools and agricultural cooperatives while also bringing premium prices for favored produce at local markets, hotels and restaurants.
A single low-maintenance tank and grow-bed system can meet the nutritional needs of a family of four, plus additional fish and produce that can be sold to generate household income. But the promise of aquaponics is seen most quickly and clearly on a commercial scale. INMED’s simplified modular design allows farmers to scale up their systems as income allows, with a strong return on investment. The multiple module, commercial-size systems that INMED developed have the capacity to provide sustainable income generation for any entrepreneur.
Increasing Access to Climate-Smart Agriculture (IACA)
In Jamaica, climate-related events are major threats to the agricultural sector, which represents about 7 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and employs about 18 percent of the population. Small- and medium-scale farmers are among the most vulnerable to the current and future effects of climate change, because they lack the technology, knowledge and financing to implement adaptive measures.
As climate change threatens economic opportunities for these farmers, it is imperative to introduce new business models and technologies that will enable them to not only adapt, but to thrive.
To address these challenges, INMED Partnerships for Children and INMED Caribbean have launched the Increasing Access to Climate-Smart Agriculture (IACA) program. With funding from the Inter-American Development Bank/Multilateral Investment Fund and the Caribbean Development Bank, the IACA program is helping emerging farmers start aquaponics enterprises. Other partners include the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation; Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the College of Agriculture Science and Education.
INMED’s IACA program provides technical and business training, access to affordable loans, ongoing technical assistance and links to markets for high-quality aquaponic fish and produce. With ongoing technical support from agricultural extension agents, this program can strengthen Jamaica’s economy, increase food security and improve public health.
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- Program Description
- IACA Overview Brochure
- Access to Markets
- How it Works
- Training & Support
- Success Story
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INMED in Jamaica
INMED Caribbean was officially incorporated in Jamaica in 2010, but INMED Partnerships for Children has maintained a presence in Jamaica since 2002, working to improve the health, education, safety and opportunities of the nation’s most vulnerable children through adaptive agriculture, school gardening, climate change adaptation, nutrition education, positive youth development and teacher training programs.
In addition to aquaponics and adaptive agriculture, INMED’s earlier programs and partnerships in Jamaica include:
- The Community Health Awareness for Adolescent Reproductive and Maternal Care program, focused on preventing high-risk teenage pregnancies through outreach and education
- The Centers of Excellence for Teacher Training program implemented in partnership with USAID, the University of West Indies and the Joint Board for Teacher Excellence
- The Lyrics for Life nutrition education and school gardens program, implemented in partnership with the Pan American Health and Education Foundation, the Ministries of Education, Health and Agriculture, 4-H and the Bob Marley Foundation
Visit INMED Caribbean’s website at https://inmedcaribbean.org.