Agriculture minister targets women and youth

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, says he is ensuring that at least 30 per cent of participants in the agriculture and entrepreneurship programmes under his portfolio are women and young people.

He said that the objective is to promote inclusive growth and development.

He cited initiatives being undertaken through the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Agro Investment Corporation (AIC), the 4-H Clubs, among others, to facilitate the involvement of women and youth in micro businesses.

Among them is the Women’s Entrepreneurship Support (WES) Project, which provides grants to women operating micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

WES is being implemented in three phases over a three-year period, commencing this fiscal year.

Initially, the project was to begin with four grants of $250,000 each and a capacity-building workshop offered through the JBDC, but following consultations with the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, the grant was increased to approximately $500,000 and the number of recipients increased to 10.

The number of recipients will grow to 15 during the 2020/2021 fiscal year and reach 20 in 2021/2022.

“These are exciting times for Jamaica, for our economy, our industries and our people. I am very happy to be a part of this movement towards creating a more prosperous, equitable and inclusive society,” Shaw said.

He was making his contribution to the 2019/2020 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday.