Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
National Commercial Bank Nation Builder National and Regional Awardee, Canco Limited, has had a positive impact on the local community of Seaforth in St Thomas for more than 26 years. Not only has Canco Limited assisted with a breakfast feeding programme at the Seaforth Primary School, but the company's plant is located in the community.
Canco Limited trades under the brand names Linstead Market Jamaica and Ecowells Soil Conditioner and employs more than 200 persons from the community. They also support more than 400 local farmers islandwide, with some 200 from St Thomas who supply the company with fresh Jamaican fruits and vegetables.
According to Emerson James, president of the Seaforth Community Development Association, the community has a high unemployment rate and Canco Limited's involvement, especially during the high season, has had a significant impact on the residents.
"The company provides employment to a number of persons in the community. They not only purchase their products but they also provide employment. When we have our projects and we inform them, they assist us monetarily and also in kind. The employees also involve themselves in all the things that we do," James said.
Meanwhile, Trineta Fendall, whohas been principal of the Seaforth Primary School for over three years, said the students benefited tremendously from the breakfast feeding programme.
"We receive assistance towards the programme on a monthly basis. When the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) was introduced, we used it to give the very needy students lunch as well," Fendall said.
Of the more than 450 students at the rural institution, Fendall said three-quarters of the students are on the PATH programme. She said Canco Limited further assists with scholarships for the needy children of employees who attend the school. "We think they are doing well for the community. If Canco should pull out from here, can you imagine the impact it would have on the community? Many of the parents are unemployed and Canco plays an important role in employing them," Fendall said.
Fendall said they are also in the process of implementing a mentorship programme geared towards assisting with the growth and development of young boys. Recently, she said, five boys were chosen and given incentives to encourage them.
The principal also indicated that one of their fund-raising initiatives includes a concert. The Parent Teachers' Association she said are responsible for the execution of the project and they get assistance from Canco Limited as well.
"They contribute products and mobilise the employees to purchase tickets. The employees are also very supportive of the school," Fendall said.
According to managing director of Canco Limited, Dorothy Ramsay, the company has dedicated itself to making a positive and sustainable contribution to the development of Jamaica.
"Canco is focused on becoming one of the leading Jamaican brands that consistently offers high-quality products and good service. Our treasured employees are the backbone of the company and we will continue to grow through them. Canco's impact will grow as we target corporate citizenship and community development," said Ramsay.