Sat | Aug 19, 2017

EU says $4.3b injected into sugar-dependent communities

Published:Tuesday | August 1, 2017 | 8:01 PM

The European Union (EU) says it has provided more than $4.3 billion to Jamaica to fund initiatives aimed at improving the livelihood of people living mostly in sugar-dependent areas.

Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, says Jamaica has been drawing down on the funds since 2013 as part of the EU’s Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries.

The funds are managed by the Sugar Transformation Unit (STU) in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, which monitors the implementation of beneficiary projects.

These projects are geared towards creating a commercially viable sugar-cane industry by improving field and factory productivity, and develop sugar-dependent areas to improve living conditions in these areas based on sustainable economic and social development.

They also support the national policy on the environment by improving the environmental and energy performances of the industry.

So far, funds have been used to repair roads, pay for social programmes such as training, construct sporting facilities, and provide entrepreneurial support.

Presently, an estimated 370 young people are being trained by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs in food preparation, tractor operation, small equipment repair, apiculture and housekeeping in order to help them become self-sufficient.

This programme is funded to the tune of $54 million.