Several stakeholders including the Kingstown Cooperative Credit Union (KCCU), the Ministry Of Agriculture, Fisheries Exporters and Fisher Folk today signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a fleet expansion program.
The program is geared towards increasing the number and size of fishing vessels here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, thus improving fisheries stakeholders’ ability to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the blue economy.
The program will be funded by a 1.5-million-dollar initial investment by the government which will form part of a revolving fund.
A 5-year loan term will be offered to fishers with the intent of allowing more stakeholders access to funding as repayments are made.
Speaking at a ceremony held at the KCCU’S Rueben John Development Centre, director of the board of directors at KCCU Cynthia Hope Browne said the credit union is delighted to partner with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to help to provide financing to those wishing the purchase of fishing vessels.
Also giving remarks was the Minister of Agriculture the Honourable Saboto Caesar who said today’s signing was a historic event.
He encouraged all fisherfolk to seize the opportunity being presented to them.
The government is investing heavily in farmers and fisherfolk, providing income support as well as significant subsidies on fertilizers.