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Small Beef Farmers to Benefit from $13 Million Project

12 November 2009

JAMAICA - Some 200 small scale farmers in the parishes of St. Mary, Portland and St. Thomas are slated to benefit from a $13 million (US$150,000) project to increase their productivity and commercial viability.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, D. Christopher Tufton and Country Representative for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mr Gerard Johnson signed the contract for the grant assistance earlier this week, at the Ministry's Old Hope Road offices in Kingston.

The Minister, in his remarks, expressed his appreciation to the IDB, while noting that "this represents another in a long and very productive relationship between the Government of Jamaica and the IDB."

"We want to say that we appreciate the working relationship that we have had over many years and certainly, a relationship that is getting stronger as is being symbolised here with this particular support to the beef and dairy sector," he added.

Mr Johnson, informed that the money was a grant from the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).

"The purpose of the MIF is to help the small private sector, through grants. We lend to the Government and we lend to the private sector, but we also have a grant window to try to encourage innovative projects," Mr Johnson said.

"What is interesting about this initiative is that it is real; it is not about Government handouts. This is based on business fundamentals that make sense. This project is self sustaining financially, the cost recovery will cover the operating cost and it's about the resurgence of an industry," he added.

Chairman of the Eastern Livestock Development Association, Mr Robin Crum Ewing, also expressed his appreciation to the IDB for providing the funding, which will aid in the re-development of the beef industry.

The estimated value of beef imports and dairy products in 2008 was valued at US$106.4 million. At the current foreign exchange rate this represents an outflow of $9.54 billion.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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