The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has earmarked an additional $200 million to continue the Government’s Buy-Back Programme.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Floyd Green, made the disclosure during his 2021/22 Sectoral Debate presentation on Wednesday (May 12) in the House of Representatives.
He said that the Buy-Back Programme is among “aggressive strategic initiatives” implemented last year in response to the “unprecedented crisis” caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Minister Green noted that through the initiatives “we have been able to stabilise the sector and return to growth”.
He informed that under the Buy-Back Programme the Government provided $240 million to assist in the movement of excess produce from farmers to domestic consumers. The excess was due to the closure of hotels, restaurants and schools during the pandemic.
“Our international partners, recognising the necessity, [also] answered our call, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provided an additional $35 million to support the programme,” Minister Green said.
To date, the programme has impacted more than 40,000 farm families and moved 2.5 million kilograms of produce.
Another initiative is the ‘Say Yes to Fresh’ private-public campaign, which involves creating new marketing channels through farmers’ markets, drive-through markets and special package deliveries.
The Ministry, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), facilitated more than 114 farmers’ markets and 55 drive-through markets.
Minister Green told the House that egg, poultry and pig farmers were also provided support valuing $25 million.
He noted, further, that farmers, in collaboration with the Ministry, supported quarantined communities and institutions through direct contributions of free produce valuing approximately $16 million.