To assist with the resuscitation of the banana industry, the Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has negotiated a $100 million loan package from the People’s Cooperative (PC) Banks, which will be available to farmers at an interest rate of five per cent.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, during a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (Nov. 6), said the PC Banks have also agreed to reduce the one-off fees on loans from three per cent to 1.5 per cent to assist the industry at this time.
She said the Government recognises that some of the smaller banana farmers may not be able to access these loan funds and so the Ministry has negotiated with the European Union to allocate $13 million from the European Union Banana Support Programme (EUBSP) to assist small farmers with fertilizer and insecticide.
Some 3,888 bags of fertilizer and 39 kilograms of insecticide will be distributed in the worst affected areas this week.
She informed that banana farmers, who suffered losses above 50 per cent of production and who are subscribers to the Catastrophe Fund, will receive their pay-out shortly.