Mocho Citizens’ Association Livestock Farming Project is making a difference
The farming community of Mocho, Clarendon has a long history of supplying Jamaica with its agricultural products. In recent years, however, with the increasing impact of climate change on the agricultural sector, many farmers in Mocho have been reduced to subsistence farming.
The Mocho Citizens’ Association is looking to turn things around for small farmers in Mocho by helping farmers invest in livestock farming, which is less susceptible to the harsh fluctuations brought on by climate change. Tetra Tech’s USAID-funded Community Empowerment and Transformation Project II (COMET II) awarded the association a grant to support their social enterprise, which allowed the organization to launch their project in early 2017.
Moreover, Development Manager for the Mocho Citizens’ Association, Al El, believes social enterprises can propel sustainable livelihoods for small farmers in Mocho. He reckons that, “the effort has given farmers a more sustainable way forward. With the support of our project, we are making our farmers better-rounded”.
The project involves training livestock farmers, providing them with chickens or pigs, and giving them initial feed for the animals. To date, 38 small farmers, ranging from 18-70 years old, have received livestock from the organization and additional training through COMET II’s project partner, the Rural Agriculture Development Agency (RADA).
The aim, El explains, is for local farmers to earn enough profits to be able to give back to the association, a key feature of the association’s social enterprise model. From the onset, farmers commit to returning a portion of their profits in order for the association to use those funds to support and train other farmers.
Already 90% of the poultry farmers have returned their committed amounts to the organization, proving that the model is working.
Thirty-year old Kevaughn Golding, a poultry farmer who operates his coop in his backyard, has sold more than 150 pounds of chicken since April 2017, and has returned 15% of his sales to the association. Golding says he strategically targeted a private school in the parish capital, May Pen, and it has become his primary market.