$1.2 billion boost for agricultural sector


The agricultural sector has been given a $1.2 billion boost through a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is to be used to fund the five-year Agricultural Competitiveness Programme.
This loan agreement was signed on November 25, at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Sector, National Heroes Circle, between Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw and the IDB Country Representative, Julian Belgrave. Also in attendance was the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton.
The programme seeks to boost the competitiveness of Jamaica’s agricultural sector by increasing the capacity of medium sized farmers to access national and international markets. It also seeks to improve the country’s food management and safety systems and foster the development of agricultural and agro-processing value chains.
During the early 2000s, the phasing out of preferential trade arrangements led to contraction in the export sector, and recent adverse external shocks and natural disasters further weakened growth in the sector. However, the exports of some non-traditional agricultural products have emerged with good competitive prospects, which the Agricultural Competiveness Programme is expected to build on.
The programme is to be executed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the support of the Agro-Investment Corporation, as part of efforts to stimulate the sector.
The loan terms include an interest rate of 1.27 per cent over 25 years, with a grace period of 5

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