More $$$$ for biodiversity and agriculture development

The Honourable Cherrie-Ann Crichlow-Cockburn, Minister in the Ministry of Planning and Development is announcing for public information the Government’s efforts to establish a project to address threats to our local biodiversity and productive landscapes from human encroachment, forest fires and unsustainable agricultural practices. The project, named BIOREACH, is made possible via approval of US $3.5 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), with technical support from the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is also the GEF Implementation Agency selected to assist Trinidad and Tobago with the drafting of a detailed project document in the initial stage.

The Project, “BIOREACH: Biodiversity Conservation and Agroecological Land Restoration in Productive Landscapes of Trinidad and Tobago”, seeks to promote biodiversity conservation, restore degraded lands and improve the livelihoods of rural communities in targeted productive landscapes (agriculture, forestry and other land uses) throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

Minister Crichlow-Cockburn adds that the biodiversity of Trinidad and Tobago plays an important role in the provision of ecosystem services that maintain our well-being. The depletion of biodiversity and land degradation therefore reduces our access, use and enjoyment of these valuable services. Loss of which will invariably lead to impacts on our livelihoods, health and agricultural production. 

Through the BIOREACH Project, the Government therefore seeks to limit and reverse some of these negative impacts through the restoration of landscapes, effective land use planning and the proliferation of sustainable agriculture that can contribute towards more diverse livelihood opportunities.   

As part of the initial phase of the project, the Planning Ministry and the FAO hosted a stakeholder workshop in Tobago on February 19 and one in Trinidad on February 20 with environmental civil society groups, governmental and non-governmental organisations and private stakeholders to begin the grant validation process. Some of the discussion focused on food and nutrition security, tackling small and large scale polluters, the impact of squatting or unplanned settlements, making coffee a priority crop, mentoring and assistance for new farmers as well as bringing new products to the market.

The Government is working to enhance Trinidad and Tobago’s food security, as well as surpass the global requirements regarding environmental sustainability and the conservation of our biodiversity through this project and a suite of others.  This project is connected to Theme V of Trinidad and Tobago’s National Development Strategy, VISION 2030, ‘Placing the Environment at the Centre of Social and Economic Development’; as well as Sustainable Development Goal 15, ‘Life on Land’.

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