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World Bank approves funds for Jamaica to boost rural agriculture

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The World Bank has approved a US$40 million loan for Jamaica to boost income opportunities and job creation in rural areas, through the second phase of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI II).

The project will improve access to markets and resilience to climate change for around 200 agricultural and rural tourism micro, small, and medium enterprises. It will also provide training for relevant public sector institutions and partners. Around 70,000 people are expected to benefit from investments in productive activities, training, and capacity-building, with inclusion of youth and women as a priority.

“Reducing rural poverty, creating jobs, and enhancing climate resilience are critical priorities for Jamaica,” said Ozan Sevimli, World Bank Representative for Jamaica.

“The World Bank is delighted to support the continuation of the REDI project that will provide additional income opportunities for poor rural households—with a focus on youth and women.”

The World Bank said nearly half of Jamaica's population lives in rural areas and agriculture accounts for eight per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), employing more than 18 per cent of the active population.

Tourism is another critical driver of the Jamaican economy, accounting for more than nine per cent of GDP in 2016. REDI II will promote linkages between these two key sectors by developing efficient tourism clusters, with an emphasis on enhancing connections between producers, service providers and buyers.

The impact of extreme weather events poses significant potential losses to GDP and employment in Jamaica. Climate resilient approaches under the REDI II project aim to incorporate increased access to climate-smart technologies and infrastructure. It will also promote adaptation and mitigation measures to improve productivity, boost resilience and build sustainability, the World Bank noted.

The Jamaican Social Investment Fund will implement REDI II on behalf of the Government of Jamaica. The first phase of the REDI project successfully concluded in 2017.

It benefited more than 19,000 micro and small-scale rural producers as well as providers of tourism products and services. Among them, 22 per cent were younger than 30 and 51 per cent were women.


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