FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 4, 2022
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Ninety (90) farmers and fisherfolk from across the island are currently participating in business training being hosted by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) as part of the “Formalising Operators in the Jamaican Agricultural and Fisheries Sector” Project being funded by the International Labour Organization funded (ILO). Following 4 workshops, several participants received certificates at a Closing Ceremony for the training component held on Thursday, April 29, 2022.
The training sessions provided for participants information to assist them along their journey to formalisation. Participants were guided through industry-specific training and hand-holding sessions on how to manage and run a business, getting their operation formalised, opening a business bank account, creating strategic business linkages, drafting a business plan, and how to access financing.
The 4-session workshop covered a range of topics with a variety of presentations from key stakeholders. Specific topics covered included: business registration, certification, taxation, clustering health and wealth, market access, standardisation, production, apiculture and advocacy. Key stakeholders and companies that made the training sessions possible were: Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Heart Trust NSTA, Companies Office of Jamaica, Department of Cooperatives and Friendly Societies, Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ), Tax Administration Jamaica, Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Jamaica Customs Agency and Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA).
Mr. Oral Shaw, Principal Director, Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) Division in the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce commented on the importance of formalisation for persons within the agriculture and fisheries sector. He noted “Formality is very important to national development, there are more benefits to be derived from being in the formal economy that not being in it.”
Continuing, Mr. Shaw provided participants with a myriad of opportunities and resources available to MSMEs who have taken the step to formalise their operations. “You cannot have an informal structure if you want to access benefits such loans and grants. In fact, the Government of Jamaica has earmarked $13billion in loans to support individuals and businesses like you to receive support, he said addressing the participants in the training,” he said.
Concluding Mr. Shaw added “The benefits and opportunities far surpass what you will get remaining informal.”
Ms. Resel Melville, National Project Coordinator of ILO Decent Work team commented on the ILO’s involvement in this project saying “ILO is interested in initiatives of this nature because the agriculture and fisheries sector are seen as vital drivers for both medium and long-term economic and social recovery. These sectors are linked to domestic food security. At the end of this project, we are looking forward to see a number of MSME’s in agriculture and fisheries that have improved their business organisation, improved technical knowledge and skill, leading to improved production and then in the long-term we are looking for competitiveness. “
Two participants from the project lauded the JBDC and partnering organisations for the wealth of knowledge and assistance they received for the duration of the training. Ms. Adlyn Edwards said “Impactful segments of this programme included familiarisng us with the supply chain, challenges within the chain and solutions to mitigate same. I am also now more confident that going forward I will be able to generate necessary documents and financial statements. I must commend the JBDC and the presenters who patiently facilitated my many questions.”
Mr. Ramone Dunkley noted “I am grateful for the exposure to the knowledge we received here, about the organisations and initiatives that exist to help us within these sectors, the knowledge shared here with us was invaluable.”
The US$70,000 ILO funded project is aimed at promoting the benefits of formalisation and assisting target operators to formalise their operations. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed which connected Government Ministries, Agencies and the ILO. The JBDC’s role has been leading the charge in training and developing the farmers and fisherfolk.