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Jamaica to improve its agricultural productivity with IDB support

Jamaica will improve the competitiveness of its agricultural sector with measures to improve the quality of food production, foster the development of agricultural and agro-processing value chains, and increase farmer’s access to national and international markets with a $15 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The project seeks to boost income of beneficiaries by as much as 17 percent; cut by half the number of outbreaks and food borne illnesses; and reduce the percentage of fresh and processed food exports that is rejected because of failure to meet quality standards.

The loan will back training for farmers related to market requirements demanded by local and international markets; help farmers tailor their production to meet the needs from the local hotel industry; support marketing of their products in the US, UK, and Canadian markets; as well as support capacity building on certification, traceability, grades, and standards.

In terms of agricultural health and food quality, the project will support public awareness campaigns and updating and refurbishing the infrastructure of laboratories, quarantine stations, control places and local offices. It will also back measures to upgrade regulations to meet international agreements on sanitary and phytosanitary measure standards as well as strengthen the surveillance, quarantine, risk analysis, inspection, registration, control, traceability and quality assurance systems.

The project will promote greater integration of farmers with farmers’ organizations and agribusinesses to improve efficiency in the production chain and allow each participant in the chain to add value to the products that will be delivered to the final consumer. Besides supporting studies for the development of these value chains, the project will finance the implementation of at least five pilot value chain projects based on public-private partnerships. .

The loan is for a 25-year period, with 5-year grace and maturity periods and an interest rate based on the Libor.