EU Provides $28.9 Million in Grants Under Banana Diversification Programme


Three entities in St. Thomas and Portland, which were involved in banana production and have since diversified their operations, are to benefit from $28.9 million in grants from the European Union (EU). Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton and Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi Alemani, signed the agreement for the grants recently in Morant Bay, which are being provided under the EU Banana Diversification Programme.
CANCO Limited, an agro processing enterprise in Seaforth, St. Thomas will receive $9.2 million to expand its operations; FM Jones Estate in Golden Grove, St. Thomas will receive $8.56 million for dairy plant expansion and an additional $4.6 million for a turf production project; while WESS Industries of Portland, which will be embarking on a block-making training operation in conjunction with the HEART Trust/NTA, will get $6.6 million.
Dr. Tufton applauded the gesture by the EU and challenged the grant recipients to use the money to improve the sustainability of their operations. “The efforts of the three companies is worth supporting, because it says to the workers if one thing fails, you will have the option of another and that cannot be a bad thing,” he stated.
The grants represent 75 per cent of the cost of the operations and the entities are required to provide the remaining 25 per cent. CANCO will be using the allocation to increase productivity and add a new line of product, while FM Jones Estate plans to double its dairy milk production through the purchase of 60 pure-bred heifers and establish a cow bank scheme to benefit smaller dairy farmers. Through its turf production project, the company will provide direct employment for 12 women.

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