J$500M line of credit for Jamaica potato, onion farmers

(Jamaica Observer) With the start of the planting season for competitive crops such as Irish potatoes and onions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is rolling out a J$500 million line of credit, through the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), to support the farmers.

The funds are being made accessible through the Peoples’ Cooperative (PC) banks, at an interest rate of seven per cent.

Providing an update on the sector at a press conference last week, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Robert Montague, assured continued support to production of crops that can be grown competitively. He noted that one aspect of this thrust is the provision of funding to farmers at concessionary rates, and linking them with markets.

Montague had announced, at the opening of the 2011 Denbigh Agricultural Show in July, that the Ministry had finalised arrangements for farmers to access low-cost loans, for the production of Irish potatoes and onions, through the DBJ.

The minister expressed confidence that the initiative would bring the desired results, stating that the country can produce onions and Irish potatoes competitively and comparatively.

“I am very excited about this project… It is another example of us producing something that we can produce better,” said.

As part of the initiative, the ministry will ensure that technical assistance and suitable lands are available to the farmers.

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