Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, February 8th, 2022 – Invest TCI, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture on February 3rd, 2022, hosted the North Caicos and Middle Caicos Agricultural Forum 2022. With a strong focus on Agriculture, the Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in agriculture so that the Turks and Caicos Islands can benefit from locally grown foods. Through Invest TCI’s MSME Programme and the Department of Agriculture’s Agro-Grant Incentive Programme, the Government will take a holistic approach to create a sustainable food supply for the country. These programmes will transform the agriculture sector through the provision of support for improved technology, expansion of operations, access to training and research, increased production, creation of employment and the development of niche markets. The communities of North Caicos and Middle Caicos were invited to learn about the programmes and to be a part of the Agricultural discussion.
The Agricultural Forum kicked off at 10 am in North Caicos at the Horsestable Beach Centre in Whitby and in Middle Caicos at the Conch Bar Community Center at 1 pm. In attendance were over 40 persons from the North Caicos community and more than 30 individuals in Middle Caicos. These included local farmers, agri-business representatives, and others who came out to learn about the assistance available through the Invest TCI’s MSME Programme and the Department of Agriculture’s Agro-Grant Incentive Programme. In addition, both communities were able to voice their opinions regarding the farming opportunities and challenges they faced.
Invest TCI’s MSME Programme provides support to start-up farmers by providing them with up to $10,000 in Cash Grants, up to $10,000 in Duty Concession and up to $10,000 in Technical Assistance. To be eligible, applicants must have belonger status, a business license or letter of intent and a business plan.
The Agro-Grant Incentive Programme provides support to registered farmers who own 0.5 acres of land, actively farming, or are start-up farmers. The programme has three categories of support. The first category is the Improvement Programme which provides up to $20,000 in support. The second category is the New Farm Start-Up/Young Entrepreneurs which provides up to $15,000 to registered farmers between the ages of 18 – 25. The Disaster Relief category provides up to $20,000 in support in response to National Natural Disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages.
Commenting on the event, Interim CEO For Invest TCI, Angela Musgrove, stated, “We were extremely delighted by the turnout in North Caicos and Middle Caicos. The participation and input from both communities were invaluable. It gave us a greater appreciation for some of the challenges that farmers face on these islands, and we can now look to resolve these issues and provide the resources they need to have sustainable businesses.
The Minister for Agriculture, Honourable Josephine Connolly, stated, “The Government’s goal is to develop and create business opportunities, to promote small businesses and ensure that all of our people can make a decent living and benefit from the MSME and Agro-Grant Incentive Programme. Agriculture and food security are major challenges. The Government plans to invest heavily in food production. We will ensure that locals employed in food production, planning, fishing, and processing earn a good and decent living. The incentive grants will also motivate many to develop their respective farms. I expect great things for farmers and for those who wish to enter farming.”
The Hon. E. Jay Saunders, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Investment, and Trade commenting on the Forum stated, “As Minister for Finance, I am pleased that we are able to increase the financial support to the agriculture industry through these initiatives. I look forward to seeing the impact on the sustainable development of our agriculture industry.”
To apply for the Invest TCI’s MSME Programme persons can contact Invest TCI at 649 338 4773 or visit the website at www.investturksandcaicos.tc. To apply for the Department of Agriculture’s Agro-Grant Incentive Programme, farmers can contact the Department of Agriculture at 649 338 5269 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Invest Turks and Caicos
Invest Turks and Caicos is the Islands’ Investment Promotion Agency, responsible for enhancing the economy through the attraction, growth and retention of overseas investment; and supporting the growth of local businesses.
We provide a free and confidential service to overseas businesses looking to expand and will work with a company project team throughout the investment process, providing advice and support. This can include:
- Information on the local business climate;
- facilitating contact with relevant Government Departments throughout the investment process;
- advice on Government incentives and concessions to investors;
- introductions to local service providers/suppliers;
- advice on work permits and permanent residency procedures;
- ongoing support following set up.
We also work actively to support the growth of local businesses, including the management and delivery of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise programme which provides concessions and reliefs to locally owned businesses.