The National Irrigation Commission (NIC) has taken another major step in reducing its carbon footprint with the installation of a 79.2-kilowatt grid-tied voltaic solar system at its Plumwood pumping station in New Forest, Manchester.
Noting that climate change is a potential cause of the recent heavy rains which resulted in farmers suffering millions in losses, Floyd Green, minister of agriculture, fisheries and mining, said the new system is tangible evidence of the agricultural ministry’s role in reducing its carbon footprint and thereby assisting in the fight against climate change.
“We have seen that climate change is real. Nobody would have to convince us that the weather patterns have changed. Not only are we seeing longer droughts, but we are seeing shorter more intense periods of rain,” said Green.
“We have to play our part in reducing our carbon emissions and this project is going to help us by reducing our carbon emissions by 64.5 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and that is something to celebrate,” he added.
Speaking at the official handover ceremony last Thursday, Green charged the NIC to redirect the anticipated $4.6 million it will save each year through the solar system into other areas of investment to further benefit farmers.
“It is not just reducing cost for reducing cost sake. We have to put this $4.6 million into other areas of expanding our ability to supply water to our farmers,” he said.
Franklin Witter, state minister in the ministry, highlighted the fact that the new system will help to make the farmers more competitive.
“One of the challenges that we face in Jamaica in terms of our farmers is really the cost of input so these initiatives will go a far way in cutting cost so that farmers can be competitive, which will lead to us being able to cut our imports,” he declared.
The project was implemented under the Rural Economic Development Initiative by the NIC, in collaboration with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.