Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, has commended the Agricultural Credit Board (ACB) for 100 years of assistance to the agricultural sector.
He said the Board has done yeoman's service, particularly as it relates to facilitating rural development.
The Minister was speaking at the ACB 100th anniversary celebration and awards ceremony held on December 5 at the Four Seasons Hotel in New Kingston. A total of 46 long-serving employees were recognised for their years of dedicated service to the institution.
Minister Clarke stated that the People’s Cooperative (PC) Banks, regulated by the ACB, have been invaluable to the farming community. He noted, for example, that “last year, when the Irish potato farmers were in difficulty, it was the PC Banks that came to their rescue."
He also highlighted the role the PC Banks and the ACB played in assisting egg farmers to supply hotels with liquefied eggs, when they could not find adequate market for their product. “I turned to the PC Banks and they gave $15 million to help put up the liquid egg plant, and I want to commend them for that,” the Minister remarked.
He also cited interventions by the ACB, the PC Banks and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), amounting to some $200 million, for rice production.
"What this is saying is that the commitment to agriculture and rural development is unshakable," he stated.
The Board, which has negotiated some $1.25 billion over the past two years for a number of crops, has made significant contribution to agriculture including, since 2007, a grant of $5 million to the Jamaica 4-H Clubs for a goat rehabilitation project; $6 million to the Jamaica Cane Farmers’ Association to assist in keeping the industry afloat; and a grant of $6 million for the Ministry’s land titling initiative.
The ACB has also made significant contributions to the Government’s banana and plantain rehabilitation efforts, with grants totaling $11 million; and has also assisted with negotiating special financing for crops such as rice, Irish potato, ginger, and turmeric.
The National People's Co-operative Bank of Jamaica Limited (NPCB), which is registered as an agricultural loan society under the ACB Act, provides a range of services to its members/clients.
These cover a range of savings instruments, loan facilities to the micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs), legal services (e.g. wills and land titling), bill payment services and family indemnity plan insurance.