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President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, has called for more loans to be made available to farmers at single digit interest rates, in order to foster growth and development in the agricultural sector.
Senator Grant, who was giving the main address at the annual general meeting and exposition of the Portland branch of the JAS, held on Wednesday (March 28) at the Old Port Antonio Marina, commended the government’s initiative to enable farmers to access low interest loans, and pointed out that a way must be found to enable serious and responsible farmers without collateral to secure loans from financial institutions, on the basis of the viability of their farming ventures.
The event, which was attended by farmers from various communities and JAS branches in Portland, highlighted the best of agricultural production in the parish, with an impressive display ranging from primary produce to value-added goods such as beverages, pastries and spices.
Senator Grant congratulated the Portland branch for combining the annual general meeting and the exposition into one event, adding that its staging enabled the parish to display agricultural production at its best.
According to the JAS President, agriculture remained the engine of growth and development for rural communities and pointed to the need to address bad road conditions to allow farmers to get their produce to the market.
Calling for the establishment of a central road authority to address the issue, Senator Grant said that such an initiative would go a far way in ensuring that agriculture continued to be a major contributor to the national development process, and place Jamaica on the cutting edge of production in the global economy.