Approximately 240 Irish potato and onion farmers are to benefit from a sum of $250 million which will be on-lent through the National People’s Co-operative Bank of Jamaica Limited (NPCB) network.
The sum is part of the $458 million allotment in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure to assist farmers under the Agricultural Support Project, being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The remainder will be used to facilitate an increase in Irish potato and onion production to 400 acres and 200 acres, respectively.
The project seeks to support the agricultural sector by fostering an increase in small farm agricultural production. Specifically, it aims to provide access to credit by small farmers and small-scale agricultural entrepreneurs, in order to increase agricultural production and competitiveness and underpin economic growth.
Up to February 2012, some 452 loans had been approved in the amount of $484,207,489. Of this amount, $458,676,880 had been disbursed to sub-borrowers. The programme has also helped to sustain 1,016 jobs, created 149 new jobs and 234 temporary jobs.
Also, under the project, there has been an increase in the production of non-traditional crops and livestock, which include vegetable production, an increase in the use of protected production systems and an increase in root crop production.
Originally started in May 2009, the project is expected to end in July this year.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter