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Friday, 10 March 2017

EU-Funded Programme Breathes New Life into Jamaica Banana Sector

Stakeholder activities under a $677.85-million European Union (EU) grant-funded programme to revitalize Jamaica’s banana sector, which had been seriously impacted by the weather in recent years, are far advanced. The Jamaica Banana Accompanying Measures (JBAM) Programme, being implemented by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), aims to spur increased production and other key outcomes, following recent fallouts caused by hurricanes and tropical storms, among other weather-related events. Its implementation commenced in 2012 following the passage of Tropical Storm Gustav in 2008, which ravaged thousands of acres of banana, resulting in farmers incurring billions of dollars in losses, and industry activities scaling down over the ensuing three years. Agricultural Attaché with the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Stefano Cillí, said the JBAM allocation is part of approximately $6.7 billion in overall funding support extended to the industry over the last 10 years. He indicates that the JBAM allocation has been funding stakeholder activities aimed at boosting the industry’s operations to world-class standards. These include provisions to the Banana Board and All Island Banana Growers Association (AIBGA) to facilitate technical support and capacity building; and direct inputs for farmers and other stakeholders targeting infrastructure development, and enabling farmers to attain Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification in order to export. Global GAP is the international organization that assures the implementation of safe, sustainable agricultural practices worldwide. The certification exercise is being administered by the Board under the EU-funded Banana Export Expansion Programme (BEEP). Programme Coordinator for JBAM at RADA, Vaughn Barnaby, said the entity has been pivotal in the project’s implementation.

Source: Caribbean360