Approximately 90 farmers and fisherfolk across the island have benefited from business training. This, as more entities in the agriculture sector moves to become formal in their operations.
The trainings led by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) falls under the “Formalising Operators in the Jamaican Agricultural and Fisheries Sector” project funded by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The US$70,000 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.
Resel Melville, national project coordinator for the ILO’s decent work programme, commenting on the partnership, said that the international organisation interest in the project was tied to current realities which sees the agriculture and fisheries sector as vital drivers in the 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 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in agriculture and fisheries that have improved their business organisation, improved technical knowledge and skill, leading to improved production and increased competitiveness in the long term,” she said.
Principal director in the MSME Division at the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, Oral Shaw, speaking on the importance of formalisation for the sector, noted its benefits for national development and also as an outlet for increased access to benefits.
“You cannot have an informal structure if you want to access benefits such loans and grants. The Government of Jamaica has earmarked $13 billion in loans to support individuals and businesses like you to receive support, the benefits and opportunities therefore far surpass what you will get remaining informal,” he told the participants.
The four-session workshop which ended last month covered a wide range of topics including: business registration, certification, taxation, clustering health and wealth, market access, standardisation, production, apiculture and advocacy. The project, which attracted heavy key stakeholder engagement, received support from companies and agencies such as Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), HEART Trust/NSTA, Companies Office of Jamaica, Department of Co-operatives 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), along with the ministries of investment and commerce, agriculture and fisheries and labour and social security.