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Consultation on Riverbed Stabilization Project held at Diamond Village

Consultation on Riverbed Stabilization Project held at Diamond Village


The Diamond Village Community Heritage Organization (DVCHO) hosted a community consultation on the Kamacroubou Watershed Community-Based Riverbed Stabilization Pilot Project on Tuesday, January 24, at Earlene Horne Square.{{more}}

The project, funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, is commited to the advancement of the community through the introduction of riverbed stabilization practices in the Kamacroubou Watershed using soil conservation techniques and best practices on slope farming.

The programme will train local farmers and provides forest and fruit trees to protect and rehabilitate the river bank. The organization hopes that the project will mobilize farmers to care for the environment by showing the importance of rivers to our forest, agriculture, and community.

Fitzgerald Providence, Senior Forestry Officer, stated that by protecting the rivers, “you’re protecting the land that feeds you,” because rivers are necessary for the agriculture and livelihood development of the country.

Providence also stated that the work of the Forestry Division is to “conserve forests with communities and that the implementation of this project seeks to reach that aim. He further stated that “it is the responsibility of Vincentians to preserve national treasures and ensure that our blessed land is passed down to future generations to enjoy.”

Now, more than ever in the past, is the time for conservation. As Providence said, “the climate is changing,” as indicated by the 2010 drought, the category 1 hurricane Tomas, and the torrential rains in the April 2011 storm. In the past year, St Vincent has experienced a huge amount of rainfall that has negatively affected rivers in the area. Riverbed stabilization slows down erosion to ensure that river banks are not lost at sea, that agriculture crops are protected, and that large debris does not endanger communities downstream.

In his remarks to the dozens of participants and community residents, Otto Sam, secretary of the Heritage Organization, said that the project is consistent with the Organization’s (2001) vision following the decline of the banana industry in the 1990s. That vision he said, “was to develop alternative means of livelihood and protect the community’s resources, culture and heritage.”

He said “the crown project was community development through the establishment of a heritage site at New Adelphi to reincarnate eighteenth century activities, spiced with eco-tourism in our beautiful and lush interior, including Bobby Stone Trail and other exotic views, along with cultural pieces.”

He reminded the audience that the DVCHO has just successfully implemented a Forest Livelihood project, which trained 26 persons in drumming and drum making, Tour guiding and research in medicinal plants. Sam told villagers that these projects are building capacity and preparing our villagers for its phased development.

Sam also sounded a note of hope that “amidst the continued declining fortune of the banana industry from $48,000,000 in 2000, to $6,000,000 in 2010, there is hope.

He said: “the project is timely for farmers because it provides immediate and future cash for farmers and their families, new skills or techniques in tree and fruit crop farming.”

He also pointed to the benefits for farmers outside of the Diamond Community, who will benefit from demonstration and consultations on best practices on slope farming. He pointed to God’s intervention, even as bananas are disease stricken, and low prices threaten several farmers’ courage and existence.

The Secretary thanked the FAO for financing the project and lauded the Forestry department for its support.

The community, through several of the participants and villagers, endorsed the project (through their contributions) and urged the community to take steps to help the Organization in the development of the Diamond Community.

The New Adelphi Craft association also commended the Heritage Organisation for its interest in the community and serving the people.

Forestry official Mc Cloud spoke of it being the best community consultation he has attended and pledged to work hard in partnership with the community.

The consultation was chaired by Oscar Allen and Philemon Allen.