Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says a new loan scheme will be made available to pig farmers, to boost the pork industry.
The Minister, who was addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Pig Farmers Association (JPFA) on Thursday (September 23) at the Golf View Hotel, Mandeville, said the loan, part of the Financial Access for Responsible Members (FARM) project, will be implemented in collaboration with the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the National People’s Cooperative Bank (NPCB).
It will have two components: the Breeder Loan, which will be granted for a period of four years, with a one year moratorium on principal; and the Fattening project, which will be available for a period of six-seven months and repayment required at the expiration of the loan period. Participants must be registered with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and must undergo appropriate levels of training in conjunction with the JPFA.
“The loan will be processed and a response given within 10 days. The banks have committed to ensuring that they will process the facility within a relatively short period of time,” Dr. Tufton told his audience.
Pig Farmers view a proposed pig pen layout, done by the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), at the Jamaica Pig Farmers’ Association Annual General Meeting, at the Golf View Hotel, Mandeville, on Thursday (September 23).
He said that the Government is willing to provide critical support to the farming sector, and that the objective is to promote best practices to minimize the risk of failure and to support farmers lacking the collateral needed for private sector loans. Both loans will carry an interest rate of 10% on the reducing balance. Two percent of each loan will be deposited into a savings account in the borrower’s name, to encourage the habit of saving.
It is estimated that pig production in Jamaica accounts for approximately 1% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and employs some 6,500 persons. The annual foreign exchange savings accruing to the economy due to domestic pig production is estimated to be US$12.2 million.