Application of Vermicomposting and Land Management Techniques to reduce soil erosion and use of persistent chemicals
Application of Vermicomposting and Land Management Techniques to reduce soil erosion and use of persistent chemicals
he Jeffrey Town Farmers Association (JTFA) has identified soil loss and ultimately land degradation as a significant problem in Jeffrey Town and its environs. The farming of steep slopes in Jeffrey Town without appropriate soil conservation and surface run-off management techniques has resulted in significant soil loss, reduction in productivity and a concomitant increase in the use of inorganic fertilisers, especially during the last fifteen years.
The reduction in cultivation of tree crops such as breadfruit, pimento, cocoa, citrus and banana, and an emphasis on cash crops such as tomato and peppers, coupled with a serious decline in agricultural extension services, has made lands more vulnerable to degradation. In the 1970s the land degradation problem was addressed through a check dam construction project and training in terracing implemented in St. Mary by the Extension Services Arm of the Ministry of Agriculture. This resulted in land stabilisation and effective control of surface runoff. However, these initiatives have not been adequately maintained and after significant damage to the check dam system by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, farmers did not have the resources to rehabilitate the infrastructure. Consequently, the check dam system deteriorated even more, soil is now being lost during heavy downpours and the poor management of surface flow causes land slippages, adversely affecting houses and roads.
The JTFA is also interested in reducing the use of inorganic fertilisers and persistent pesticides. Crop cultivation within Jeffrey Town and adjoining communities includes significant use of inorganic fertilisers and pesticides. These communities are located in the watershed of rivers such as the White, Wallingford, Kellham and Maiden Hall Rivers. Currently the larger farmers utilise approximately 288,000 pounds of inorganic fertiliser each year. The over 11 pesticides utilised include: Actara which has a high potential for run-off several months after application and is toxic to aquatic invertebrates and bees, Ridomil which can cause groundwater contamination in permeable soils, and Gramaxone which is highly toxic to humans.
The combination of land degradation and the consequent increase in the use of inorganic fertilisers to maintain soil productivity has a negative impact not only on natural resources, but also on the ability of the small farmers to maintain sustainable livelihoods and escape poverty.
The inappropriate disposal of chicken manure by chicken farmers in watershed areas is also an area which the JTFA has to address. Surface water is being contaminated by a valuable resource, which can be recycled into a useful farming input to improve soil quality and maintain productivity. The manure is disposed of on the slopes of watershed areas resulting in contamination of surface flow to rivers during heavy rainfall events. .

• Main goals
The overall goals of the project are:
a. To significantly reduce the impacts of farming activities in Jeffrey Town and its environs on the natural resources, especially the soil, through implementation of soil conservation and improvement techniques
b. To reduce the persistent organic pollutants introduced to the watershed areas through an increase in the use of organic pesticides.
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Project Snapshot

Jeffrey Town Farmers' Association Limited
Area Of Work:
Land Degradation
Operational Phase:
Phase 4
Grant Amount:
US$ 30,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 15,000.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 2,000.00
Project Number:
Start Date:
End Date:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Inovative Financial Mechanisms
Gender Focus
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Hectares of degraded land rest 20
Number of individuals (gender diaggregated) who have benefited* from SGP project 20

Grantee Contact

Mr Wordsworth Gordon
Phone: 876 823 3057


Jeffrey Town District
St. Mary , LA and the Caribbean , Guy's Hill P.O.

SGP Country office contact

Ms Hyacinth Y Douglas
(876) 978-2390-9 ext. 2030


1-3 Lady Musgrave Road
Kingston 5, LA and the Caribbean