First Look

EU Head lauds banana growers focus on local market - discusses new JMD$660 Million support programme



EUROPEAN UNION | 2014-05-14 00:00:00

Speaking at the All Island Banana Growers Association (AIBGA) Annual Meeting on May 14th, 2014, Ambassador Paola Amadei, Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica has lauded banana growers for their focus on the local market.

Ambassador Amadei noted that "The industry is trying to reposition itself and is now looking at developing the potential offered by the local banana market. This strategy is strongly supported by Government and it is fully endorsed by the EU"

The occasion was used also to launch a JMD$660 million programme, first signed in November 2013 aimed at addressing low productivity, weak linkages between producers, establishing markets and limiting the risks faced by small farmers in the banana sector.

The four year programme, the EU's Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) complements the previous actions by the EU supporting the sector of more than JMD$5 Billion or (42.6 M Euro) – bringing the EU's total support for the sector to over JMD$5.66 Billion.

The BAM will provide direct support to a number of stakeholder groups including the AIBGA, the Banana Board, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). The project will prioritise smallholder agriculture and farmers' organisations by targeting improved productivity and resilience of small farmers; contributing to growth; poverty reduction and a decrease in the urban shift of youth by supporting their access to entrepreneurship opportunities within the sector.

Chief among the project's objectives is the development of a marketing strategy by strengthening the link between small farmers and the market through a market-oriented and efficient production system, whilst supporting the producer's association in providing relevant market information and linkages.

This small farmer support is critical, as highlighted by the EU Head of Delegation; they are "the backbone of rural areas and key to sustaining the livelihoods of thousands of people. However, they often face enormous challenges as you know too well: high risk exposure to natural disasters, lack of access to credit and weak linkages with markets: All issues that contribute to poverty and hardship."

 




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