The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) is calling on persons involved in the Agriculture and Fisheries sector to develop support systems to assist with business formalisation efforts.
This push comes in light of the renewed emphasis being placed on increasing the number of informal agricultural enterprises implementing formalisation practices.
Under the recent Formalising Operators in the Jamaican Agricultural Fisheries Sector Project, funded by the International Labour Organization (ILO), in partnership with the Government, 100 farmers will be selected for training. Ms.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on February 23, Project Management and Research Manager at the JBDC, Amanda McKenzie, said operators in the Agriculture and Fisheries sector stand to benefit from not just gaining the necessary skills but they will also be exposed to a new way of thinking about their business.
“Agriculture is the primary input to so many other sectors. The [COVID-19] pandemic has brought about a need for wellness type products, so there are opportunities there. The mindset issue that we have identified, we plan to address it through this initiative, because if you are not trained to see business as really looking for opportunities to provide solutions, then problems will frighten operators,” she said.
“But, if they are aware that they are providing solutions, then that perspective will change. Some of that is definitely going to be tackled in the training we will provide. We’ll be looking at shifting to a more creative solution type of approach and also introducing technical support, which will help operators to see how they can add technology to innovate and add more value to what they are doing and they can benefit from increased revenue,” Ms. McKenzie explained.
With the focus of formalisation centred around improving business acumen, analysis, management and administration, one of the concerns is farmers having enough time or manpower to invest in effectively formalising their businesses.
Ms. McKenzie said this is where farmers having a strong support system is critical to the growth and development of their businesses.
“We do recognise that finding the time and manpower can be a drawback for some businesses, but what we encourage persons to do is to have a support system around them. So, you can have persons that contribute to your business financially, but you can also have persons that contribute to your business in terms of their expertise. For example, a farmer may not have the time for the record keeping and all the other administrative work that needs to be done, but that’s where you have a support system, including mentors and volunteers,” she said.
“At the JBDC, we do have a pool of volunteers and persons who are willing and open to provide this sort of support to businesses. So, that’s a methodology we have found to work and which we really encourage persons to embrace,” Ms. McKenzie added.
According to the International Labour Organisation, Enterprise Formalisation involves various dimensions.
These include registration and licensing with the national and municipal authorities; access to social security for the business owner and employees; and compliance with the legal framework, including tax, social security and labour laws.