Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, has urged farmers who want to access loans from financial institutions, to be guided, so that the correct decisions can be made that will benefit them.
In the same vein, he implored farmers to take the requisite steps to adequately prepare themselves, when seeking to access those loans.
The Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony for the Christiana Potato Growers’ Co-operative’s immersion technology training programme, in Manchester, on April 12.
Mr. Clarke said he had “seen with my own eyes,” situations where farmers had accessed loans without getting the requisite guidance or product details and “they have been left holding the bag,” having encountered serious challenges.
“When we are implementing a loan programme, our farmers have to be guided. Farmers must not just go and borrow money, because they have heard that money is being loaned out. You (farmers) must have your plans well laid out, because it is your investment,” Mr. Clarke urged.
He informed that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has made available some $500 million for Irish potato and onion cultivation, at an interest rate of seven per cent.
The Christiana Potato Growers’ Co-operative immersion technology project, which has been endorsed by the Ministry, aims to improve the productivity and production levels of root crops, thereby advancing development of a cluster for these, and increasing the farmers’ incomes.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter