Agricultural Subsidized Loans Program
|Amount Funded||EC $2,107,206.50|
A total of 84 farmers have benefited from an Agricultural Subsidized Loan Program, established in 2008, to encourage entrepreneurship and foster growth in the medium-small and micro-agro business sectors. Funding for this program, in the amount of EC$2,000,000, was provided by the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) through the Development Bank of St. Kitts-Nevis which is responsible for managing and administering the funds. Under this program farmers receive loans of up to EC$25,000 interest free.
This program has made life easy for Arabella and Carlton Nisbett, a farming couple with 15 acres of land at Cranston Estate in Newton Ground. Through a loan the Nisbetts have been able to put the necessary infrastructure in place on their farm, pay workers and buy seeds.
“The high interest rates from the banks were a killer and we wondered when we were going to reach the end of paying off our loan. I found the assistance from SIDF was very helpful as we were able to repay smaller amounts over a shorter period,” Carlton said.
In 1998 the Nisbetts set out to plant peanuts, harvesting three hundred to four hundred bags per year, but have since been forced to diversify into sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other cash crops. They have discovered that one way in which they can diversify is through agro-processing. The Nisbetts are making and packaging sweet potato chips, jams, jellies and cassava bread, and are planning to make sweet potato fries very soon. They are encouraged by the assistance that SIDF is lending and are optimistic about partnering with the Foundation in the future.
Economic and Social Benefits
- Boosts agricultural production
- Impacts household income