ASSP Receives $282 Million


Further strengthening of the support system for farmers and other key stakeholders in the agricultural sector is expected during 2008/09, as
$282.7 million has been allocated to the Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP).
This is outlined in the Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives.
The project, funded by the Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is aimed at enhancing the quality and delivery of agricultural services, mainly through improvements to extension, marketing, and research services. Additionally, it seeks to upgrade existing systems for safeguarding animal and plant health, as well as food safety, and to support the implementation of selective productive projects, in order to stimulate agribusiness development in rural areas.
Targets achieved under the project, as at December 2007, include: improvements to research stations; strengthening of approximately 1,370 farmers, marketers, agro-processors, and producer organizations; upgrading of the central animal diagnostic laboratory; training of approximately 80 veterinary officers, public health officers, and other animal health workers; establishment and refurbishing of quarantine facilities; establishment of a National Food Safety Policy, which has been adopted and is currently being reviewed; establishment of a ‘One Stop Shop’ at the Port of Kingston to deal with food safety matters, and the establishment and operation of a US$6 million fund.
Among the anticipated targets for 2008/09 are: completion of civil works to upgrade the Bodles Research Station; development, completion, and enactment of animal related legislation; further expansion of the warehouse at the export complex at the Norman Manley International Airport; construction of a cold storage facility at the Montego Bay export complex; completion of the establishment of the ‘One Stop Shop’ for dealing with food safety matters; establishment of the Agricultural Marketing Project to facilitate communication between buyers and productive sub-projects; the provision of market intelligence, and completion of the establishment and operation of an Investment Centre to develop business plans and provide support to investors.

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