Jamaica has over 30 years experience with agricultural development programs focused on small farmers cultivating the steep slopes of the rugged interior watershed areas. Some of these programs have focused on soil conservation treatments under the rationale that the hillsides could be stabilized within present cropping patterns. These programs, have for the most part, not succeeded in slowing soiL erosion. The USAID/Government of Jamaica Hillside Agriculture Project was designed to fund sub-projects focused on the production and productivity of economic tree crops in two of Jamaica's largest, and most densely populated watershed areas. The rationale for designing the project with this focus and structure was to identify mechanisms to make perennial tree crops a positive economic alternative to annual cropping of steep hillside slopes. Specifically, the focus is on perennial tree crops for two reasons: I) the potential for increased economic returns to farmers with proper management, and 2) perennial tree crops provide a more permanent and stable cropping system, and are therefore a more sustainable land use.


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