Banana and Pimento Farmers to Benefit from Assistance


Banana and pimento farmers, who suffered losses as a result of Hurricane Ivan last September, will soon benefit from recovery assistance.
Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke speaking to JIS News at the Hague Agricultural Show in Trelawny on February 9, informed that the European Union has provided $288 million to assist the banana farmers to “bounce back,” while nearly $40 million would be pumped into the restoration of the pimento industry.
He told JIS News that a number of international organizations had come to the assistance of the agricultural sector in the aftermath of the hurricane and these include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), while local private sector groups have also been instrumental in the recovery and reconstruction process.
He noted that apart from assistance already provided to the sector, “we have just put in another $200 million in specific areas so as to bring about sustainable growth and development in the field of agriculture.”
On another matter, the Agriculture Minister called on farmers to increase production and get involved in areas that offer high returns, such as goat rearing.
“We have to put on the ground, specific things that can be easily marketed and which will allow for continuous growth within the sector,” he pointed out.
He noted that the Ministry would be working harder to improve productivity within the industry, so as to enable the country to compete more effectively with its international partners.
The Agriculture Minister congratulated the farmers for their resilience and commended their efforts to replant and feed the nation, despite their individual losses.
“We want to look deeper into the development of agriculture as a business. We must support the farmers in every way and help to rebuild the agricultural industry,” he stated.

JIS Social