$140 Million to Revitalise Dairy Sub-Sector


A sum of $140 million has been allocated to undertake revitalisation of the dairy sub-sector, in the 2008/09 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives.
This amount is part of a $248.8 million allocation to undertake activities under the crop and livestock production programme of the Ministry of Agriculture, which provides support in the management and improvement of livestock and crop rearing to the farming community. The allocation to the crop and livestock programme will also cover a grant to the Agricultural Development Corporation as well as production incentives.
The thrust towards revitalizing the dairy sub-sector is part of a national drive to enhance food security, livelihood protection, and rural development. Funding for this undertaking will be used to facilitate loans, equity investments and grants to cattle producers for herd expansion, productivity enhancement, and farmer training. The National School Feeding Programme will be used as the vehicle to provide market stability to an expanding dairy sector.
Funds will be disbursed through the Development Bank of Jamaica by way of concessional loan financing and cumulative three per cent preference shares, redeemable over 12 to 15 years.
The Jamaica Dairy Development Board will act as facilitator and monitoring agency to ensure achievement of the programme’s goals. The Beef and Dairy Producers Association of Jamaica will co-ordinate programme implementation on behalf of the producers, in conjunction with the Jamaica Dairy Development Board.
The Agricultural Development Corporation grant, for which $8.8 million has been allocated, is aimed at conserving the productive potential of foods and dairy animals, through animal selection and manipulation of the environment towards increased commercial utilization. The Corporation is responsible for the operation of Minard Estate, Amity Hall, and Wallens Dairy, and the sum allocated will go towards purchasing equipment, livestock, as well as goods and services.
A total of $100 million has been allocated towards production incentives, of which $12.5 million has been set aside for the Jamaica Dairy Development Board, which develops policy and monitors the growth of the dairy sector. It is envisaged that during 2008/09, the entity’s operations will be strengthened through the passage of ensuing legislation.
A sum of $87.4 million has also been allocated to provide special incentives to small farmers. This sub-project is intended to assist the most vulnerable small farmers in their efforts at production. Farmers will be provided with seedlings, spraying equipment, fertilizers, plant protection chemicals, feed, and day old chicks. Additionally, allocations have been set aside to undertake other activities, including the purchase of goods, equipment, services and livestock.

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