FFK pledges support to the National Tree Planting Initiative

Ainsley Henry, Forestry Department's CEO and Conservator of Forests presents (left) Gerard Fontaine, President of FFK, with a cannonball tree seedling. Looking on are Winsome Callum, Director of Corporate Communications of JPS Co, and Senator Matthew Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.  

Kingston, Jamaica: As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, Fraser Fontaine and Kong Limited (FFK) has pledged to join the fight against climate change by supporting the Forestry Department’s National School Tree Competition. 

The insurance company has committed $150,000 to the second place winner in the early childhood category of the competition. 

The National School Tree Planting Competition (NSTP) is the latest promotion from the Forestry Department to encourage and facilitate greater participation in the National Tree Planting Initiative (NTPI).

The competition was officially launched on Wednesday at the Forestry Department head office on 173 Constant Spring Road.

It is open to schools at the early childhood, primary and secondary levels as well as tertiary level students. All schools and tertiary students registered for the competition may get up to 50 tree seedlings from Forestry Department Nurseries for planting under the competition.

The schools/student that propagates and plants the most fruit and ornamental trees will win the competition. 

Under the theme ‘Giving Thanks and Giving Back’, the company set out on a year-long philanthropic initiative. Earlier in July, FFK adopted the Port Royal Health Centre, and it will adopt 28 early childhood schools in conjunction with its partners. FFK also plans to donate 168 trees (ornamental and fruit trees) to the schools.

Gerard Fontaine, President of FFK speaking at the launch of the National School Tree Competition at the Forestry Department head office on 173 Constant Spring Road on Wednesday, September 7, 2022. FFK has committed $150,000 to the second place winner in the early childhood category of the competition.  

President of FFK, Gerard Fontaine said, “When our team looked at ways we could give back, the environment was very high on our agenda… As a responsible Jamaican, I can’t overemphasise the need for us to nurture our environment. We applaud the Forestry Department for their initiative and support and I urge the students involved to not only plant trees but to nurture and maintain them. Hats off to all and may the best school win”.

According to the Forestry Department, as of September 1, 2022, more than 1.4 million trees have been planted/distributed in support of the National Tree Planting Initiative which was launched in 2019 and aimed at planting three million trees in three years.

Ainsley Henry, Forestry Department's CEO and Conservator of Forests. 

Forestry Department's CEO and Conservator of Forests Ainsley Henry said, “The improved climate resilience and increased green spaces will directly help our youth when they become adults, and those trees have matured— as the beneficiaries and decision-makers of tomorrow, propagating and planting trees in their communities will secure a healthier environment for the next generation”.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda, who was also in attendance, indicated his support of the initiative. 

“This is an excellent initiative that acknowledges and recognises the important role our schools have in making sure that our children are not just highly educated but highly conscious of the role that they have within our society, within our country and certainly within our world,” Samuda said.

The official award ceremony will be held on International Day of Forests on March 21, 2023. First place prize for the most trees planted is $300,000, while third place winner will get $75,000. 

The competition is also sponsored by the Jamaica Public Service, VM Group, and Xsomo International Limited, and supported by the Ministry of Education and Youth. 

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