Two corporate entities have made pledges to contribute to the Government of Jamaica's National Tree Planting Initiative which is being implemented under the theme, “Three Million Trees in Three Years ... Plant a Tree Today, for a Prosperous Tomorrow”.
The initiative, which was launched during the annual observance of National Tree Planting Day on Friday, October 4 at Jamaica House, has seen GraceKennedy Limited pledging to plant 2,000 trees and Wisynco Group Limited pledging to plant 12,000. The Jamaica 4-H Clubs has also made a pledge and other companies are currently discussing what their roles will be in the initiative.
CEO & Conservator of Forests, Ms. Marilyn Headley, says she is heartened by the pledges and is urging other entities to make it their corporate social responsibility to contribute to securing a safe and healthy future for our country and people.
“I applaud GraceKennedy and Wisynco for recognizing their role in this national project. Oftentimes, we leave these initiatives for government alone to implement which cannot work. Three million trees in three years will not be an easy feat and so it will take every single Jamaican to not just plant but to ensure that they are maintained and that at the end forests of all types are established across the island,” Ms. Headley said.
The sentiment was also echoed by Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness who stated during the launch of the initiative that the success and longevity of this programme can only be achieved with the meaningful inclusion of every sector and every individual.
“The planting of the three million trees, though significant, will only be a small part of the programme. The critical part will be the medium to long-term maintenance of the seedlings planted and ensuring that they remain alive and transition into healthy forests. I am therefore urging the public to play their part in caring for the seedlings that will be planted, as once established, they will play a critical role in the reforestation of denuded lands and the establishment of different types of forest ecosystems including urban forest in Jamaica,” Prime Minister Holness stated.
The initiative, which will be led by the Forestry Department, will see the planting of two million timber/forest seedlings on approximately 3000 hectares of land while the remaining one million timber and ornamental seedlings will be distributed to the public and planted in urban spaces including roadways, parks and along major thoroughfares in towns across the island.
Under the programme, approximately 1,000 interns under the Housing, Opportunity, Productivity and Employment (HOPE) programme will be trained and certified in basic core elements of forest management which includes seedling production, tree establishment & maintenance and forest law.
In addition to the HOPE interns that will benefit under the project, employment opportunities will be provided for persons from communities adjacent to areas to be planted.
Meanwhile, Ms. Headley is commending all the individuals and organizations that continue to support National Tree Planting Day and who have been contributing to a sustainable future for our country through tree planting activities.
National Tree Planting Day 2019 was observed under the theme, “Plant yuh own tree & some fi di res' a we: Give back to yuh community”.