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Growth & Jobs | Building resilience in agriculture critical to economic prosperity - Thompson

Published:Tuesday | November 30, 2021 | 12:08 AM

Acting director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Richard Thompson, says that reducing the impact of natural hazards on sectors such as agriculture is critical in building a resilient economy.

“When you talk about food safety, it is important that we are placing priority on building resilience in the agricultural sector,” he said.

“Here in Jamaica, we would have done a lot of work in terms of increasing awareness within the sector. We continue efforts in this area because it plays a vital role in terms of our economy. Our import-export is built on agricultural products widely. So it is important that the agricultural sector is brought into the mix to ensure that they are doing the necessary work to build resilience in that sector,” he added.

Thompson was addressing a recent JIS Think held at the agency’s head office on Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston.

He noted that there is an economic cost to the impact of natural hazards, and players in the agricultural sector, especially farmers, are often hardest hit.

Priority attention

Agriculture was one of the sectors targeted for priority attention at the recently concluded seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP21).

The regional platforms are United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction conferences which provide an opportunity for States to share experiences, build their capacities, transfer knowledge, and show successes related to disaster risk reduction at the national and local levels.

Thompson noted that this year’s event, under the theme ‘Building Resilient Economies in the Americas and the Caribbean’, helped to stimulate dialogue and the coming together of ideas to reduce loss of lives, and the impact on the environment and the socio-economic standing of countries, because of disasters.

The regional platforms are aligned with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which outlines clear targets and priorities for action to prevent new, and reduce existing, disaster risks.

Among these are understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, investing in disaster reduction for resilience, enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to ‘build back better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

The framework aims to achieve substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses of lives, livelihoods and health, and the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries, over the next 15 years.