According to Jamaica’s Food and Nutrition Security Policy, the island counts with low food production and high dependency on imported food, putting approximately 12.8% (400,000) of Jamaica’s population in food insecurity. As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), Jamaica is also vulnerable to the negative impacts associated with climate change. This may result in the loss of agricultural lands due to direct erosion, temporal flooding and contamination of the agricultural soil via salination, hence impacting livelihoods, production and economic output. The situation has been further compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the agricultural producing parishes across the island are well known, significant knowledge and technology gaps still remain. Policy makers as well as sector stakeholders have so far been unable to identify the food insecure regions across the island in relation to climate change. Knowledge on the spatial distribution of current and future food security risks across the island that ranges from the community scale to the parish level is therefore pivotal.
Through the technical assistance, the CTCN will support Jamaica to increase its adaptive capacity and resiliency of the agriculture sector. Key questions of how changing climate conditions align with food scarcity and food prices shall be answered.
The development of a technological tool/software application shall support with a visual representation of food security risk and the spatial vulnerability of food insecure areas across the island to provide decision-makers with a holistic assessment of vulnerability to food insecurity and clarify areas or hot spots that may need to be targeted for intervention strategies.
The expected impact is to contribute to more food system resiliency that anticipates risks and withstands economic and environmental shocks, therefore improving human development in Jamaica. The objective is to crystalize in a detailed manner food insecure or vulnerable communities across the island, the reasons for food insecurity and vulnerability as well as prognostics and potential solutions to improve their situations. Another expected outcome is to close significant knowledge and technology gaps to address current and future food security risks across rural and urban environments. By developing a baseline survey, Jamaica can shed light on the determinants and consequences of food insecurity within the context of climate change. The CTCN’s technical assistance is expected to provide an opportunity to generate country-wide data in a disaggregated format to capture the gendered nuances of food insecurity under changing climatic conditions.
The technical assistance is aligned with the island’s development policies, plans and strategies that target a reduction of food poverty and an increased adaptation to changing climatic conditions. It also supports Jamaica’s NDC with its strategic aims to facilitate the use of efficient agricultural methods, improved food storage systems, and diversifying food production techniques including the expansion of agroforestry and aquaculture.