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The Reach Chips Factory in Eastern Portland is to be equipped with new machinery by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
A contract signing ceremony to that end was held at the Reach All Age and Infant school on Thursday (July 27).
Under the contract JSIF will equip the factory with the necessary machinery at a cost of $272,000. The equipment includes two Vulcan industrial deep fryers; one deep freezer; two impulse sealers; one adjustable slice plate unit; cooling trays; one skimmer, and cooking utensils. The total cost of the project is $306,000 of which the Reach community will be donating $34,000 either in cash or kind. In addition to the nine persons employed by the factory, the other direct beneficiaries will be the farmers of Reach who sell their produce to the factory.
Addressing the signing ceremony, Internal Auditor at JSIF, Carol Perry noted that Portland and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund had established a history of successful partnerships, adding that to date a total of 36 projects had been completed in the parish at an investment cost of more than $134 million. She said that since the inception of the Fund, 627 projects of the 870 approved have been completed at a cost of $3 billion. Those projects she said, included construction; expansion and rehabilitation of basic and primary schools; rehabilitation of rural feeder roads; community water supply systems; and multi-purpose community facilities across the country.
Mrs. Perry said projects such as the equipping of the Reach Chips Factory were viewed with the utmost importance by JSIF, as a project of this nature not only empowered the community, but also sought to assist in the socio-economic development of individuals.
Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, and Member of Parliament for Eastern Portland, Dr. Donald Rhodd, who was guest speaker for the event thanked JSIF for its assistance to the factory and commended the Reach Cottage Industry Cooperative Society for the effective management it was providing for the enterprise.
Observing that the business being operated by the factory had the potential to develop into a large and successful enterprise if given the necessary support, Dr. Rhodd said current efforts by the Government to use money from the National Insurance Fund to promote small businesses could redound to the benefit of the Reach Cottage Industry Cooperative in its endeavour to establish operations of that nature. Stating that the community of Reach was enhanced by the presence of the Chips Factory, Dr. Rhodd encouraged the members of the Cooperative Society to continue to develop the factory by reinvesting the profit made into the business as a means of facilitating its overall growth and development.