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Govt. to sign agreement for project to develop and formalize farmers


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January 2021
 
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Above Body

 29 Jan 2021    communications   

A project aimed at developing and transitioning informal small farmers and fisher folk to formal operators is set to begin soon with the signing of a grant agreement between the government of Jamaica and the funding agency, the International Labour Organization (ILO). The Project will be implemented jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) and the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) through its agency, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) with support from partnering entity, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
The signing will ratify a US$70,000 agreement between the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC), the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and the ILO and will take place on Thursday, February 4, 2021 at the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce. The Honourable Audley Shaw will sign on behalf of MIIC and in attendance will be the Honourable Floyd Green, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries as well as senior executives of the JBDC.
A total of 100 beneficiaries, 70 per cent of whom are small farmers and 30 per cent fishers, are slated to participate in the initial phase of the project. The initiative is expected to boost the productivity of small farmers and fishers to assist them in formalizing their businesses in order to improve their chances of accessing funds from financial institutions and receiving government assistance. The hand-holding operation is designed to take the farmers along the business developmental continuum, allowing them to transition from informal operators to micro businesspersons, to small business operators and eventually becoming medium-sized enterprises.
The project will also assist these farmers to mitigate and recover from adverse market conditions, including the market-repressed conditions created by the COVID 19 pandemic.
Details of the project include the provision of business development support and capacity building training, such as: business management, financial management, bookkeeping and market penetration. Participants will also be coached in identifying viable market opportunities and creating linkages with manufacturing/processing operations, tourism and service industries (e.g. restaurants) as well as increasing their export potential.
As access to financing is typically challenging for persons operating informally, the project will also seek to assist small farmers with formal registration of their businesses, preparation of business plans and securing bank accounts to increase their business transaction flows.
It is expected that the intervention provided by this project will improve the efficiency of small businesses, thereby allowing participants to scale their operations and to eventually export their produce to overseas markets and ultimately improve the nation’s earnings and its gross domestic product (GDP).
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