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More support for small farmers and agro-processors

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Small farmers and agro-processors are to benefit from increased support under the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s (RADA) Agro-Processing Incubator Project, aimed at supporting the development of small-scale rural enterprises.

The agency, on Wednesday, signed a memorandum of understanding with CNET-OUTAONE, to further strengthen the programme by offering training, technical advice and marketing support to users of the incubators.

The support will be facilitated under OUTAONE’s Agro-economic Zone Project, which involves partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, for the establishment of agro-processing facilities throughout Jamaica.

Senior Advisor and Consultant in the Ministry, Robert Miller, said that the partnership between the entities “will facilitate growth in our economy through increased value-added production and effective utilisation of resources as well as provide greater linkages with agricultural suppliers, producers and buyers”.

He was delivering remarks on behalf of Minister without Portfolio, J C Hutchinson, at the signing ceremony held at RADA’s Hope Gardens complex in St Andrew.

Miller noted the need for greater market opportunities and a structured distribution network to increase growth in the agricultural sector.

He said that the establishment of agro-economic zones that are strategically located across the island is part of measures to rectify the issue.

Launched in 2017, RADA’s incubator initiative enables persons to access training in value-added production to start their own business.

Beneficiaries receive assistance in the areas of production, product development, marketing, and general business support.

Under the MOU, CNET-OUTAONE will work with RADA to activate and enhance the agro-processing incubators to be used for cottage industries as well as assist the agency to provide product development and management support to farmers for the delivery of marketable products.

It will also provide the opportunity for farmers to sign on to OUTAONE EXCHANGE, where they will be able to offer their commodities for sale in the global marketplace.

During Wednesday’s function, CNET-OUTAONE also signed an agreement with the All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers Association to encourage diversification into other crops based on the downturn in the sugar industry, and providing markets for farmers locally, regionally and internationally.

OUTAONE is a regionally focused initiative aimed at revolutionising and unlocking the economic potential of the diaspora through farming, agro-processing, marketing and financing.