February 25, 2014

Steps in place to prevent dishonest collection of farmers’ monies

Measures have been put in place to ensure that no monies from the $6 million farmer support programme are obtained dishonestly.{{more}}

Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture, stated at a press conference last Friday that the veracity of a farmer will be tested by extension staff who will be facilitating the loan process.

Caesar explained that following the 30 meetings that took place on February 18, which were done for farmers to express their interest in the lending programme, a series of follow-up visits is expected to take place.

“When the forms are collected, they are going to be processed by the Farmer Support Company and upon completion of that, there is going to be a farm visit where the extension staff is going to visit each farm,” the minister said. “The farm visits…will also incorporate a farm interview and we’re going to take more information to conclude the forms. There is going to be a follow-up process”.

While noting that the credit programme is open to all farmers in the agricultural sector, the Minister stated that the Ministry is not ignorant of the fact that not all farming practices will be flawless.

“It would not be far-fetched to think that upon visiting each farm all the farm practices will not be perfect. The extension staff’s job is to ensure that a business plan, even though it’s a simple business plan…would be outlined and this entire process will be coordinated by a credit officer, working closely with the extension staff,” Caesar said.