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Agri ministry gets US$7m grant to revive dairy sector

Published:Wednesday | August 7, 2013 | 9:05 AM

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has approved a grant worth US$7 million to support a five-year development plan aimed at resuscitating Jamaica's ailing dairy sector.



Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Roger Clarke says the five-year plan will include improvement in breed and pasture management as part of rebuilding initiatives.



Concessionary loans are to be offered to dairy farmers for animal acquisition under the plan.



The loans are available at an interest rate of five per cent with a loan ceiling of $2.5 million to individuals, and $5 million for corporate entities.



The Agriculture Minister says to date, 53 individual farmers and corporate entities have taken up loans totaling $84.5 million.



The reintroduction of a herd recording programme to assist dairy farmers in making objective management decisions is also part of efforts to improve the sector.



Clarke says the Ministry has purchased and leased to farmers, with the option to purchase, five four-edge choppers to improve efficiency in the use of harvested fodder.



He says the Ministry will also provide assistance to farmers to alleviate the impact of recent drought conditions, by making available to farmers high yielding and nutritive fodder species to enhance milk production.



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