The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) has received 177 applications from small and medium-sized enterprises in the agriculture and tourism sectors for grant funding, under phase two of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI II).
Project Manager for REDI II at JSIF, Kemeisha Batchan, told JIS News that applications were received from all 14 parishes, with Clarendon being the highest.
“We are encouraged by the out-turn and the number of proposals that have come in for component one – business plan and implementation,” Ms. Batchan said.
She noted that of the number of applications received, 138 were from the agriculture portfolio, 19 from tourism, while 20 were from mixed agro-tourism groups.
Ms. Batchan pointed out that those who submitted proposals should expect a letter acknowledging receipt of their proposals in short order.
“We are also at the same time doing our screening for eligibility to determine the top-ranking proposals that will be appraised and be recommended for business development and support under the project,” she added.
The Project Manager noted that the large volume of applications received is largely due, in part, to the role played by key partners, including the Ministry of Tourism and its agency, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo); the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and its agency, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) as well as the Social Development Commission (SDC).
“I must say the agriculture and tourism sectors are our two key growth sectors and there are opportunities to leverage the nexus between both. Under REDI, we will be strengthening and supporting the ministries to transform both sectors to integrate climate-resilient approaches in the business operations,” Ms. Batchan said.
The JSIF-REDI II project is funded by The World Bank through a loan agreement with the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and being implemented by the JSIF.