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  • Officials of the Government and the Organization of American States (OAS), on Tuesday, August 4, signed an agreement for $15 million (US$130,000) in grant funding by the OAS, for the Peckham Bamboo Pre-processing Project, in North West Clarendon.
  • Signing at a ceremony, held at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in New Kingston, were: State Minister for Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams; and OAS Country Representative for Jamaica, Jeanelle van Glaanen Weygel.
  • The money will finance the training of 80 residents of Peckham in bamboo cultivation, and by-product manufacturing methodologies and techniques.

Officials of the Government and the Organization of American States (OAS), on Tuesday, August 4, signed an agreement for $15 million (US$130,000) in grant funding by the OAS, for the Peckham Bamboo Pre-processing Project, in North West Clarendon.

Signing at a ceremony, held at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in New Kingston, were: State Minister for Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams; and OAS Country Representative for Jamaica, Jeanelle van Glaanen Weygel.

The money will finance the training of 80 residents of Peckham in bamboo cultivation, and by-product manufacturing methodologies and techniques.

These engagements, and the overall project, are part of the Industry, Investment, and Commerce Ministry’s Bamboo Products Industry Project (BPIP), and aim to: provide employment for the beneficiaries; facilitate cultivation of approximately 40 hectares of bamboo, and organic certification of these; and support the establishment of a pre-processing plant, and machinery.

The grant, being provided under the OAS’ Development Cooperation Fund (DCF), was secured following representation made by the PIOJ, under its Community Renewal Programme (CRP). It is scheduled for disbursement over three years.

Additional funding in the sum of $1.4 million has already been provided by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Jamaica, while $500,000 has been secured from the local office of the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED).

Another $10 million is expected to be provided by the National Housing Trust (NHT), which is assisting with construction of a factory in the community.

Based on these inputs, it is anticipated that by 2018, Peckham should be producing and exporting at least one bamboo by-product, charcoal.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams welcomed the partnership which the OAS has forged with Peckham, and by extension, Jamaica.

Noting that the project is being facilitated through public and private sector stakeholder collaboration, Ms. Ffolkes-Abrahams said “we are happy that through the PIOJ and its Community Renewal Programme…a suitable project could have been identified.”

“For us, as a Government, the developing bamboo industry means the meaningful development of our communities, which is an urgent priority,” she said.

In her remarks, Mrs. van Glaanen Weygel said the OAS welcomed the opportunity to support the Peckham bamboo project.

“By providing funding,…the OAS will support opportunities for skills training and productive employment, particularly among vulnerable groups. As such, the OAS will contribute to the growth of Jamaica’s productive sector. We look forward to a fruitful cooperation and the successful implementation of this valuable project,” she added.

For his part, State Minister for Transport, Works and Housing and North West Clarendon Member of Parliament, Hon. Richard Azan, said the initiative “shows that what we have around the community can create (significant) employment opportunities, and can help to create growth in Jamaica.”

Mr. Azan was instrumental in coming up with the project, in collaboration with the Peckham Community Development Committee.

In his remarks, PIOJ Deputy Director General, Richard Lumsden, said given the benefits to be derived from the project, “we at the PIOJ, representing the Government of Jamaica, once again express our gratitude to the OAS (and) look forward to another successful collaboration.”