Jamaica anuncia un nuevo programa para el crecimiento de la Agricultura que incluye incentivos a los productores
In a bid to support the continued growth of the Agricultural sector, the Hon. Robert Montague, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, has announced a major initiative to bolster farmers’ income, reduce unemployment, enhance rural development and promote the nation’s food security agenda.
Projects GROW, which stands for Growing Resources Obtaining Wealth, was launched at the Ministry’s Old Hope Road offices in Kingston yesterday (November 16, 2011).
According to Minister Montague, the Project will provide critical input supplies to various categories of farmers including some 1,000 tonnes of fertilizer, a variety of seeds and pesticides, as well as small livestock and the necessary feedstock to support production.
“Small tools including knapsack sprayers and forks will also be provided to farmers as the Project is not only about expanding production but lifting productivity levels,” Minister Montague explained.
As part of the initiative, farmers will benefit from an expanded extension support programme, with the addition of four new rubber wheel tractors and eight (8) hand-held tractors geared at boosting RADA’s fleet.
Farmers in the South St. Ann, Manchester and St. Elizabeth farming belts are to benefit from assistance, as the National Irrigation Commission (NIC), will be installing water harvesting solutions to the tune of $5m, while another $1.5 million will be utilized to rehabilitate catchment tanks in select farming communities.
In an effort to boost productive capacity of the island’s Agro-Processors, the Ministry will be providing grants and machinery support to qualified community groups possessing feasible business ideas to transform those ideas into businesses.
“There is no doubt that the increased farming activities that will be triggered by Project GROW will result in bumper production in the next quarter,” the Minister informed. To prevent gluts and subsequent spoilage, the Ministry has engaged critical hotel chains and other institutions and identified their needs, which he said form the basis of Project GROW.
Meanwhile, an 8 percent $50m loan will be provided to banana farmers to return some 300 acres of banana and plantain back into production. It is hoped that this initiative will reduce the level of imports of banana chips into the country.
And Minister Montague noted that some 90 farmers and eight CBOs/PMOs will be targeted to produce 350 acres of turmeric in the parishes of Clarendon, St. Elizabeth, Portland, St. Mary, St. Thomas, Hanover, Westmoreland and Trelawny. He said the Turmeric project will cost approximately $26m, of which $17.87m will be provided by the Ministry through an interest free loan, with the remainder to be funded by farmers.
“Project GROW is comprehensive and sustainable and is not a hand out. We have devised strict ruled and procedures to accessing Project GROW and all procurement rules will be followed,” Minister Montague noted. Only registered farmers will benefit from the project