JIS News

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), is offering a $250 million line of credit aimed at supporting farming activities and retooling efforts in the agricultural sector.
The Modernisation of Agriculture and Agro-Processing loan facility is open to small and medium-enterprise farmers, agro-processors, marketers of agricultural products, exporters, fisher folk, and fish and ornamental fish farmers, and is available through approved financial institutions, comprising all commercial and merchant banks, credit unions, people’s co-operative banks, Jamaica Money Market Brokers, and Jamaica National Building Society.
“The maximum amount is $5 million per entity or group and the interest rate is 7.875 per cent to the final borrower and that is fixed for the life of the loan,” informed Account Executive at the DBJ, Ernesto Wignall.
He told JIS News, that the repayment period is up to seven years and there is a maximum 18-month moratorium on the principal payment. “All of that, of course, will be determined by cash flow of the business,” he noted.
For farmers who wish to benefit from the loan, Mr. Wignall explained that they are required to take their project proposal to any of the authorised financial institutions. “Once they go in, the financial institutions will look at their proposal, and once it is feasible and it appears viable, then it will go through their approval process and then it comes to us for funding,” he outlined. He said it would be helpful if the agriculture enterprises are registered with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) or the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mr. Wignall advised that assistance in writing business plans/proposals is available through the Agricultural Support Services Programme (ASSP) and the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC), for small enterprises.
He informed that farmers and agro-businesses may be required to provide collateral to access loans.
“Now, the fact of the matter is that each financial institution has their policies and their procedures, so depending on the financial institution, they (farmers) will have to meet their collateral requirements,” Mr Wignall said.
The Agricultural Credit Bank of Jamaica Limited and the National Development Bank of Jamaica Limited were merged on April 1, 2000 to create the DBJ.
The bank’s mission is to assist in the development and modernisation of all viable enterprises in the agriculture, agro-industrial, services, manufacturing and tourism sectors of the economy.
In fulfilling this mandate, the bank provides medium and long-term funding in a timely and efficient manner and at attractive interest rates, through its network of approved financial institutions, which include commercial and merchant banks, and people’s co-operative banks.