One hundred farmers and fisherfolk are set to benefit from the recently launched Formalising Operators in the Jamaican Agricultural and Fisheries Sector project.
The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) will be the Government agency leading the implementation of the project, which will focus on enterprise formalisation and capacity development of persons in the agricultural and fisheries sector.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ on February 22, Chief Executive Officer, JBDC, Valerie Veira, said the initiative is part of the Government’s policy to create an enabling business environment, to enhance business and development support, and to foster a culture of entrepreneurship locally.
“The agricultural sector continues to be an important contributor to GDP in Jamaica; however, within agriculture, there is a significant informality in terms of the participants in that industry. We are hoping to change that narrative for people to recognise that agriculture is a business and industry and that they have a position in the MSME sector,”
Veira added that there is a need for more business planning and practical research on the needs of the market.
“We are on this mission to see how we can bring the industry into the MSME sector to get our farmers and fisherfolk moving in the right direction. This project is aimed at stimulating more activity in that mission,”
The ILO-funded project will run for a period of 11 months from January to November 2021. The JBDC is collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to undertake the initiative.
The project will operate in two phases, with the first phase starting in May and ending in July, while the second phase will run from August to October. Training will be done in Central Jamaica (Mandeville, Manchester), Western Jamaica (Montego Bay, St. James) and Eastern Jamaica (Kingston).
Also speaking at the ‘Think Tank’ was Project Management & Research Manager, JBDC, Amanda McKenzie, who shared the criteria for applicants. “Persons must be in operation for at least one year. We are also encouraging youth, women and tertiary students to apply. We also encourage persons to register with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and National Fisheries Authority (NFA), as that is one of the components that will be considered for persons to be accepted into the project and to include evidence of their access to land. This can be in the form of a title as well as a lease; however, this is not mandatory,” she explained.
The application forms will be available at all 14 RADA parish offices, NFA, the JBDC’s office, and Small Business Development Centres in Kingston, Manchester, St. Ann, St. James and Westmoreland.