JP Farms commits 500 acres to reforestation initiative
JP Farms has committed 500 acres over the next 20 years towards offsetting carbon emissions in the Annotto Bay valley in St Mary.
The initiative, which was launched on Wednesday, is a collaborative reforestation effort with the Jamaica Combined Cadet Forces (JCCF), the Forestry Department and the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal and Climate Change. It will see six acres in Chovey, St Mary, being used to shore up the parish’s native tree population with the planting of Blue Mahoe, Cedar and Jamaican Mahogany seedlings.
The tree planting programme will unfold on a phased basis with a total of 1,000 native trees planted, and was kick-started with 300 seedlings laid down. The collaborative project is the newest initiative in JP Farms’ long-running tree planting programme. The reforestation efforts have already seen positive benefits for the region, including reducing soil erosion and preserving riverbanks in the parish.
“The selected trees, although native to the location, still contribute to the biodiversity of the region, and will also create a beautiful arboretum. Our work will not end with what we plant here today. The JCCF has committed to maintaining the plot on an ongoing basis to ensure the sustainably of the project, with the agronomists at JP Farms overseeing and advising them,” said JP Group Chairman Charles Johnston.
He continued, “In addition to improving our environment, this project is also a great way to provide open green spaces for young people to learn about the beauty of Jamaican flora and the extensive benefits of agriculture.”
The project is expected to continue reaping positive results for the parish in the long term. “Given our long history with St Mary and as the largest private employer in the parish, we view ourselves as stewards of the parish and want to act responsibly on behalf of our employees. Restoring 500 acres of cleared land with ornamental and fruit trees will benefit current and future generations and go a long way towards offsetting our carbon emissions in the valley. We have chosen to do the restoration over a period of time to ensure that each batch of seedlings receives enough attention from our agronomists and partners to really thrive,” stated Gayon Douglas, marketing executive for JP Tropical Foods.
While highlighting the significance of the JCCF cadets in nurturing the seedlings, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas V. Taylor, JCCF regiment commander for the northern region noted, “We train our youngsters to be good citizens and leaders for the unity and betterment of our nation. A critical part of that is ensuring that we instil a sense of duty to preserving our environment through projects like this reforestation effort – to combat climate change. We feel it is necessary to embark on this initiative to ensure that in years to come, future generations can also enjoy what our natural environment has to offer.”
JP Tropical Foods Limited, operating as JP Farms, is a subsidiary of Jamaica Producers Group Limited and a producer of tropical foods in Jamaica. Bananas, pineapples, plantains and coconuts are grown and harvested on the 160-plus acres farm in St Mary, Jamaica, and sold locally and internationally under the JP St Mary’s brand.