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WiredJa Online News

$96.6 Million for Banana Accompanying Measures Project

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is to receive $96.65 million to carry out a project to combat poverty and improve revenues in banana dependent areas.

The Jamaica Banana Accompanying Measures (JBAMS) project is being funded by a $90 million grant from the European Union, and $6.65 million from the Government of Jamaica.

This is set out in the 2014/15 Estimates of Expenditure currently before the House of Representatives.

The objective of the project is to combat poverty and improve revenues in the banana dependent areas, by improving the productivity and reliance of small farmers; and strengthening the link between small farmers and markets.

Anticipated targets for the 2014-2015 fiscal year include: the establishment of operational procedures such as Credit Schemes for the All Island Banana Growers Association (AIBGA); procurement of supplies for AIBGA farm stores; and the strengthening/ conversion of district branches of the AIBGA into production clusters/farmers cooperatives.

In addition, the project is expected to contract technical experts in marketing and capacity building to help strengthen the AIBGA; develop an operational manual for the production clusters; improve the infrastructure of the farm stores and other facilities; relocate oil tanks; procure equipment and containers; and construct a value-added facility.

The duration of the project is from September 2013 to March 2017. The financing agreement was signed in October 2013.

Physical achievements up to February 2014 include: engaging the Banana Board and All Island Banana Growers Association (AIBGA) to provide services to the banana industry in October. So far the  Board has audited nine farms; collected and analysed soil and samples from 11 farms; collected  and analysed 12 leaf samples for black Sigatoka disease; and installed pheromone traps on 18 farms.

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