CLARENDON, JAMAICA (20 May 2022): The agriculture sector in Jamaica will get a boost with the launch of a new adaptive agriculture initiative today. The INMED Aquaponics® Social Enterprise (INMED ASE) will provide training and support to help smallholder farmers and emerging entrepreneurs establish agro-enterprises throughout the island for food security, climate adaptation and sustainable livelihoods.
Global humanitarian development NGO INMED Partnerships for Children has partnered with Jamaica 4-H Clubs to implement the first INMED ASE hub farm and training centre on a 14-acre parcel of land in Vernamfield, Clarendon. The hub farm includes a commercial-size aquaponics system with 1,000 ft2 of grow space for fresh vegetables and fruits and over 5,000 gallons of water for fish, and the capacity to generate, process and ready-for-market about 10 tons of total produc annually], operated on solar power, and training facilities. A second “starter” (or residential size) system at the 4-H St. Andrew Club on Duke Street in Kingston will focus on urban farming and adaptive agriculture training.
Seed funding for the INMED ASE in Jamaica was provided by the Inter-American Development Bank-IDB Lab to support the growing network of aquaponics entrepreneurs. Local NGO INMED Caribbean will implement and oversee the programme, which is part of INMED’s global INMED ASE initiative in South Africa and Peru with plans underway to implement it in Brazil and the USA.
Aquaponics is an intensive form of agriculture combining hydroponics and fish farming in a closed symbiotic system that produces up to 10 times more crops in the same space than traditional farming year-round, using 90% less water, 75% less energy and no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. For more than a decade, INMED has deployed a simplified, climate-resilient form of aquaponics and a unique implementation model to deliver inclusive and sustainable food production in regions hard hit by climate change. This model has been tested on three continents, with nearly two dozen systems implemented by technical schools, farm cooperatives, communities, residential gardeners and now 4-H in Jamaica.
“INMED introduced its special brand of aquaponics in Jamaica in 2011 and developed our social enterprise model through our INMED Caribbean’s Increasing Access to Climate-Smart Agriculture (IACA) programme over the last five years,” notes Sherica Campbell, Programme Manager for INMED Caribbean. “The IACA programme, in partnership with the Government of Jamaica, IDB Lab, CDB, US Embassy, and others, established a value chain infrastructure of support that farmers and emerging entrepreneurs need to grow a sustainable agro-enterprise, such as technical and business training, access to financing, links to markets and ongoing technical assistance.” The INMED ASE takes that model to the next level with consolidation services for aquaponics farmers to sell their harvestas well as bulk pricing for inputs such as fingerlings, fish food and seedlings.
“The great thing about INMED Aquaponics® is that the system is scalable, and you can move at your own pace,” says Vanessa Green, who installed a small system in her Manchester backyard after taking INMED’s technical and business training. “You can start small with just one tank and then you can build your system and increase as you see fit.”
INMED’s social enterprise is also a sustainable enterprise. Revenue from the sale of its produce and fish from its commercial systems will help fund programmes for farmers, and its hub-and-spokes model of satellite farms and training centres will help scale the impact throughout Jamaica and the Caribbean.
About INMED Caribbean:
INMED Caribbean is an affiliate of global humanitarian development NGO INMED Partnerships for Children, which has worked in Jamaica since 2002 to improve the health, education, safety and opportunities of the nation’s most vulnerable children through climate-smart agriculture, climate change adaptation, nutrition education, positive youth development and teacher training programmes. Through INMED Caribbean, officially incorporated in 2010, INMED helps current and future farmers and their families adapt to climate change threats and become economically self-sufficient.
For more information about INMED Caribbean’s programmes and partners, visit https://inmedcaribbean.org.
About Jamaica 4-H Clubs:
The mission of Jamaica 4-H Clubs is to empower youth in agriculture and related areas using adaptive technologies to create wealth while contributing to national development. Its Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Programme (RYEEP) is Jamaica 4-H Clubs’ premier entrepreneurship programme and is an important strategy in strengthening agri-youth enterprises with the propensity to achieve scale. The Jamaica 4-H Clubs’ National School Garden Programme exists to ensure timely implementation, engagement of modern agricultural techniques and equipment while encouraging practical hands-on experience leading into the formal education system. Learn more at https://jamaica4hclubs.com/.
About INMED Partnerships for Children:
INMED Partnerships for Children is a nonprofit international development organization that has worked in more than 100 countries to build pathways for vulnerable children, families and communities to achieve well-being and self-reliance. Through multi-sector partnerships, INMED builds effective systems that deliver innovative and sustainable approaches to break complex cycles of poverty and generate opportunities for success. INMED’s programmes in climate-smart agriculture/aquaponics, nutrition and health, and economic development have made a sustainable impact on the lives of millions of children and their families since 1986. Learn more at https://inmed.org.
Photo courtesy of Jamaica 4-H Clubs