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Kingston, Jamaica, November 24, 2014
- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the European Union, announce a new project to boost the productivity and income of Jamaican food producers and farmers by increasing the quantity and quality of their goods and enabling access to new markets. The project is part of the CARIFORUM–EU Economic Partnership agreement (EPA), which aims to make it easier for people and businesses from the two regions to invest in and trade with each other, thus helping Caribbean economies grow and create jobs.
“IFC is committed to supporting Jamaica’s private sector to create jobs and help people improve their quality of life,” said Rajeev Gopal, IFC’s Resident Representative based in Kingston. “By helping entrepreneurs in the food sector gain a better foothold in the market and expand their businesses, this project is contributing to Jamaica’s efforts to achieve sustained growth.
"CARICOM’s food import bill has more than doubled from US$2.08 billion in 2000 to US$4.25 billion in 2011, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Jamaica makes up approximately 21 percent (US$913 million) of this food import bill, the largest percentage of all CARICOM countries. It relies heavily on international markets to supply its food and imports over three times as much as it exports. These imports take a toll on the local economy by requiring increased foreign exchange, displacing local producers and contributing to rural unemployment.
The objective of this project is to support the development of a more robust food producing sector, particularly for farmers and small and medium-size enterprises, by raising the quality of their food products, such as sauces and spices, Blue Mountain coffee, and packed fresh produce. The aim is to enable access to new markets for local producers and provide benefits throughout the value chain.
With support from the European Union, IFC will support local entrepreneurs over the next 25 months to:
· Identify local and international market opportunities for small and medium-size enterprises in Jamaica’s food-processing sector. This will include strengthening relationships between the sauces and spices sector and importers who are interested in buying Jamaican food products.
· Build the capacity of business membership organizations, such trade associations and other local partners, to better serve their food processing members by strengthening their ability to offer more products and services to their agribusiness small and medium-size members, and increasing their ability to tap into new markets.
· Increase the production and quality of food products by improving food safety standards in select food processing value chains to better comply with market requirements. This will entail identifying bottlenecks in the value chain that may hinder production or processing of new products. Solutions may involve putting in place food safety certifications, improving workers’ technical skills, and adjusting procurement policies, among others.
Since Jamaica became a member of IFC in 1964, IFC has invested $724.7 million in the country’s private sector, including $234.2 million in syndications. IFC’s strategy in Jamaica is focused on improving the business environment and supporting public-private partnerships in energy, transport and logistics infrastructure, to help address climate change challenges and reach low-income individuals.
About the European Union
The European Union is made up of 27 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit
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