The JBI and JSIF are collaborating on the implementation of several Water Catchment and Greenhouse Cluster Projects in the parishes of St. Ann and Manchester”. A critical aspect of this project is the BCDP’s facilitating and funding the establishment of water storage facilities through the conversion of mined out bauxite pits to catchment ponds for providing irrigation water for greenhouse and open field production.
This project arose out of the need to address a major problem faced by farmers in bauxite mining areas, i.e., the lack of access to land for farming and the absence of a reliable supply of irrigation water. Having regard to the well known multiplier effect that agriculture brings to rural communities and the important linkages that the farm economy has with other sectors of the rural economy, it is expected that the conversion of mined-out pits to water catchment ponds and the increased access to lands around these ponds, will help farmers in bauxite areas to significantly increase their production and incomes. This project also demonstrates the use of appropriate rain water harvesting technologies which can be used as a model for drought affected areas.
Under the project, a total of one hundred and sixty (160) farmers from eight communities in St. Ann and Manchester are set to benefit from the $192 million project being undertaken by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI). The JBI has committed $32 million through the BCDP for the development of the ponds and the irrigation systems. The JSIF is providing $160 million through the World Bank-sponsored Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) to provide material, training, storage, post harvesting and sanitary conveniences to support the greenhouse clusters. A total of 20 greenhouses are being constructed in each of the eight targeted communities, with a mined-out pit at each site to be converted into a surface water reservoir to be used for irrigation purposes.
The bauxite companies, have indicated their support for the project and have committed to assist with the site preparation for the development of the ponds and the leasing of lands to farmer groups to facilitate the project. In general the is geared at placing formerly small scale subsistence farmers on mined-out bauxite lands, and providing the necessary infrastructure and equipment for them to do greenhouse farming on a larger scale. This project follows on success of the expanded water catchment and greenhouse technology incubator project in Burnt Ground which was established as a result of the 2009 partnership between the then St. Ann Jamaica Bauxite Partners (SAJBP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Citizens Development Corps (CDC) and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI).
The first of the JBI/JSIF water harvesting and greenhouse clusters was launched in February 2014 at Tobolski, Noranda. Noranda is engaging in the partnership with the JBI and JSIF-REDI to establish clusters at Tobolski and Nine Miles in St. Ann.