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Jamaica Agriculture & Community Farm Project - developing sustainable techniques in rural areas

Greenhouses Our Agriculture & Community Farming volunteer project in Jamaica combines elements of farming and agricultural management with a more community focussed role. The project is open to volunteers taking a gap year, career break, or even a volunteer holiday and you do not need any specific experience to volunteer on this project; just a keen interest in agricultural issues and a desire to help the Jamaicans working within this field.

This project would also be particularly suitable to any volunteers studying or with training in the fields of agricultural management, entomology, disease control, organic farming, marketing, farming techniques, irrigation and plant nutrition.

Volunteering in Agriculture and Farming in Jamaica

Sustainable agriculture is important to the livelihood of many small farmers in rural areas of Manchester parish. Farmers make up 20% of Jamaica’s workforce; this represents almost 160,000 families who are dependent on farming. Increasing costs of fertilisers and agrochemicals and a lack of support for rural farmers is impacting the livelihood of many farmers.

Nursery farm Volunteers working on the Agriculture & Community Farming project in Jamaica will work with the Christiana Potato Growers Cooperative Association (CPGCA) to support and promote ‘protected agriculture’ as a way forward. Protected agriculture involves farming in greenhouses to limit the effects of poor weather and insects. The greenhouses also take up 10 times less land.

The CPGCA is located 30 minutes north of Mandeville and was established in 1959. The organisation promotes protected agriculture and has been operating continuously for almost 50 years with the full support of the community. It now represents some 4,000 small farmers in 5 parishes. Its mission is to provide consistently high quality products and excellent services to farmers and customers, and to focus on the growth and productivity of the cooperative to the benefit the wider community. The aim is to assist local farmers to increase their yield and quality of their harvest.

The CPGCA is involved in a wide variety of agricultural activities including:

  • Greenhouse production of tomatoes, sweet peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, cucumbers and lettuce
  • Tissue culture development of sweet potatoes, scotch bonnet peppers, ginger and cassava
  • Domestic market development of major crops and export market development of several crops

Your Role as a Volunteer on the Agriculture & Community Farming Project

Planting seeds Volunteers can assist in numerous areas depending on your interests, these include:

  • Work in greenhouse production
  • Bio-technology tissue culture development
  • Domestic market development, involving adding value to products in terms of storage of vegetables, packaging and handling.
  • Pest and fertiliser management
  • Research trials involving various crops and growing methods
  • Research into soil preparation and irrigation methods
  • Demonstrations of greenhouse farming, drip irrigation, pest control and farm input management.
  • Assisting with literacy levels of the farmers and assisting them with written proposals
  • Helping schools in the area to develop a small school farm so that the schools can be more self sufficient. Volunteers can help by organising the project, planting and taking care of crops and educating children about environmentally friendly agriculture.

Volunteers will live with local host families in Mandeville.

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