July 30, 2014
With the current drought plaguing the country, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will be using the upcoming Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show to share practical ways in which the agricultural sector can cope with drought conditions.
A major component of the Agency's display will be a demonstration plot featuring drought resistant crops and information for farmers and backyard gardeners.
The importance of water conservation and rainwater harvesting will also be brought to the fore. These are two techniques that Manager of Public Education and Corporate Communication, Dionne Rose says are critical to ensuring Jamaica's food security.
"Continuous water supply is essential for the survival of crops and animals. As we seek to grow what we eat and eat what we grow we must take the necessary steps to harvest and conserve water thereby ensuring our food supply," said Ms. Rose.
Anthony McKenzie, Director of Environment Management and Conservation noted that as an island state we have to be particularly conscious of the impacts of climate change. He stressed the importance of Jamaicans taking special care of the environment.
"We have to protect our watershed areas as they help to mitigate the impact of climate change; ensure the provision of ecosystem services such as constant water supply as well as serve to maintain the natural resilience of the country. Forests help remove greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The wanton burning of wood and other material puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere," he said.
Patrons will also get insight into the work of the environment and planning Agency. Ms. Rose said NEPA will this year showcase its various mandated functions in an effort to help patrons get a better understanding of the work it does.
"Many persons may know that NEPA protects endangered species like the crocodile or that it processes applications for permits and licences for developments, however these are only a part of the work that the Agency does," Rose said.
She added that the Agency also has the responsibility for spacial planning; monitoring of coral reefs; monitoring erosion or accretion of beaches, managing the annual game bird hunting season and certifying the island's lifeguards. These functions and more will be brought to life at the NEPA Booth during the three day event.
This year the Agency has partnered with several entities for its showcase at Denbigh. NEPA's partners for Denbigh include the Nature Preservation Foundation, the Water Resources Authority, the Institute of Jamaica and Hope Zoo.
Through the partnership with Hope Zoo there will be featured displays on the American crocodile, the Jamaican Iguana and Jamaican snakes.