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Agriculture Minister, Roger Clarke has said that the Ministry’s islandwide investment road shows were a success, with potential investors expressing interest in partnering with the Ministry in profit making ventures.
“I am delighted to report that the level of interest shown has been remarkable. Based on follow up contact to date, 60 potential projects are being reviewed with 20 currently in the pipeline for the development of business plans,” Minister Clarke informed.
He was addressing a year-end press conference at his Hope Gardens offices yesterday (Dec. 28). The five seminars, held between October and December, were aimed at attracting prospective investors to the sector.
Minister Clarke said that as part of the Ministry’s strategy to advance the projects emerging from the seminars, a comprehensive package of land access, technical facilitation and financing has been put in place.
“In this regard, we are currently in discussion with a major financial institution to provide $500 million, to be matched with another $500 million from the government of Jamaica, with the aim of making affordable financing available at interest rates less than10 per cent,” he informed. In addition, a $250 million line of credit is being made available by Scotiabank Jamaica Limited to the Development Bank of Jamaica, to finance agricultural projects at similar rates of interests.
“The significance of these lines of credit cannot be overstated, as this is the first time that the agricultural sector as a whole will have access to economic interest rates below the level of 10 per cent,” Minister Clarke stated.