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The Jamaica Diaspora Agriculture Task Force to Award $130,000 in Prizes for Champion Organic Farmers at Denbigh

Written by Staff Writer

Farmers in Jamaica are called to compete in the first Champion Organic/Sustainable Farmer Competition at the 64th Annual Denbigh Agricultural, Industry and Food Show in July 2016 with prizes totaling $130,000 JMD.

The Jamaica Diaspora Agriculture Task Force (JDAT) is sponsoring the first Champion Organic/Sustainable Farmer Competition at Denbigh in partnership with JAS, the Jamaica Agricultural Society, JOAM, the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement, and SOURCE Farm Ecovillage.

The competition is intended to promote organic and sustainable agriculture practices by showcasing farmers who are already utilizing organic farming practices. The organic farming competition will raise awareness and increase the number of farmers interested in organic farming.

“The demand for organic produce is growing at an accelerated pace worldwide. The organic produce market in the U.S. is $30+B and globally it’s $80B,” said Kimone Gooden, Jamaica Diaspora Agriculture Task Force Board Member. “Organic produce fetches a premium price compared to conventional produce. The high demand and low supply reduces competition, not to mention the positive benefits for our health and the environment.  Jamaican farmers have a huge opportunity to capitalize on this demand.”

Farmers who complete a free application by June 30, 2016 and who meet the entry requirements will be entered into the competition. Their farm will be judged on the organic and sustainable farming systems that are in place. Judges will look at seven categories when reviewing the farms including chemical free soil management, water management, diversity, nutrient management, pest management, postharvest management, and measures to avoid contamination.

The farmer who has the most sustainable farming system will receive $15,000 or an international organic certification valued around $100,000. The second prize is $10,000 or a local organic certification. The third place prize is $5,000 or training towards a local organic certification.

Candidates should submit the application, which is available for download online,  by mail or by email. Applications should be submitted to the JAS Office, the closest RADA Office or emailed to, [email protected] Further questions can be directed to JOAM at 564-3770 (Digicel) or 788-6713 (Flow).

The Diaspora Agriculture Task Force (JDAT) was established after the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference in 2015 for individuals and organizations in the Jamaican diaspora and Jamaica to combine forces and make a positive impact on Jamaica’s agricultural sector. It is committed to promoting and accelerating organic and sustainable farming practices, bolstering food security and creating new markets for Jamaican farmers. JDAT will also be hosting the Diaspora Symposium at Denbigh in July 2016.  The symposium will deliver organic and sustainable farming workshops and programs for farmers.

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Staff Writer