Trelawny credit union digs into $3.6B to assist farmers
The Trelawny Co-operative Credit Union (TCCU), which earlier this year reported a solid $3.6-billion asset base, has announced an ambitious plan to assist farmers in the western parish with well-needed funding.
According to Jhanell Adjudah, the manager of the 53-year-old TCCU which has a 40,000 membership, the credit union will be embarking on a ‘Farmer’s Loan Special’, which will bring funding into the hands of farmers, especially those who recently acquired former sugar lands in the one-time Long Pond Estate sugar belt.
“We started at Long Pond Estate, where the first members had an association with farmers. It gives us great pleasure to reach out to farmers who are into utilising the lands that were leased to 150 farmers by the Sugar Company of Jamaica,” said Adjudah.
According to Adjudah, the bold initiative has received the full backing of the TCCU board, whose mandates include assisting in the development of projects that will create new opportunities for residents of the parish, who depend primarily on farming and tourism for their livelihood.
“The board wondered why the initiative was just coming forward,” said Adjudah, noting that the initiative got wide support, as the credit union also has a vested interest in helping to promote projects aimed at addressing food security.
“Farmers who access the loans fall into two categories. There is an unsecured loan being offered at a 16 per cent interest, and a secured loan at 10 per cent interest. At the start, farmers can access an amount of $2 million.”
In an effort to ensure that the farmers are comfortable with the terms and conditions of the loans being offered to them, the TCCU’s marketing officer, Julia Lindsay, has been tasked to meet and have discussions with them to create the comfort needed to ensure the smooth execution of the project.
According to Lindsay, her department has been quite active this year in providing assistance for a range of projects, including offering scholarships.
“We have an outreach programme where we provide help to our members. This year, five persons have been given self-help start of $100,000 each,” said Lindsay. “There is a scholarship project valued at $1 million, which saw 23 students from primary to university and colleges getting assistance.”
Jermain Green of Daniel Town, near Falmouth, the parish capital, has been a beneficiary of the self-help project and he was full of praise for the TCCU.
“I am into the manufacturing of wines from Jamaican fruits,” said Green. “I started in 2010 and over the years, I have broadened the variety of the fruits I use. This act of benevolence by the credit union will help me to purchase modern machinery.”