Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, has welcomed the full rollout of the Rural Economic Development Initiative, Phase II, (REDI II) Project.
Implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), REDI II aims to improve outputs in both the agricultural and tourism sectors, with the overall objective of enhancing access to markets and building climate-resilient approaches for targeted beneficiaries.
Building on the experience and outcomes of the initial phase, REDI II will focus on strengthening value chains and developing tourism clusters, with an emphasis on linking producers, service providers and buyers to improve economies of scale for small agricultural and tourism enterprises.
Speaking at the virtual official launch of REDI II on Wednesday (September 30), Mr. Green said agriculture and fisheries have to be the drivers of Jamaica’s economic recovery programme.
“We have to have a strong, robust resilient agriculture sector; and the only way we can do that is if we are able to scale up our small farmers, scale up our fisherfolk, and ensure they are operating with cutting-edge technology and taking climate smart practices to their agriculture and fisheries [activities],” he said.
“[We also have to] ensure that there are the appropriate linkages, so that they have the markets both internally, in relation to tourism, and externally, in relation to fulfilling that huge global demand for Jamaican products,” the Minister added.
Mr. Green said the Ministry is determined and dedicated to working through the REDI II programme and partnering with JSIF to build upon the foundations set by REDI I.
For his part, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the tourism product has been benefiting from JSIF’s community transformation programmes, which have empowered young people across several rural communities.
“The Ministry of Tourism has had a long and fruitful relationship with JSIF in building out community tourism in rural areas throughout Jamaica. At a glance, I see that tourism will play a big part in REDI II in areas such as enhanced agriculture and tourism linkages, enhanced marketing of community tourism enterprises and diversified tourism offerings, allowing for expenditure and earnings within local communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, said programmes such as REDI II are vital to the focus of government “to improve rural productivity, to improve real and perceived quality of rural life and to help to reduce the urban drift that we are seeing taking place”.
On November 14, 2019, the World Bank Board approved a US$40-million loan to fund the second phase of the REDI project.
To request funding for a project, applicants must complete the REDI II application form online or in hard copy and submit to JSIF.
The forms are available at the JSIF office at 11 Oxford Road (entrance on Norwood Avenue), Kingston 5, JSIF’s website at www.jsif.org, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) parish offices, Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) regional offices, and the Social Development Commission (SDC) parish offices.