Ministry calling time on farmers stipend

| 28/05/2021 | 54 Comments
Cayman News Service
Minister Jay Ebanks tours the Department of Agriculture

(CNS): Just one week after stating that he supported the Cayman Islands Farmers Assistance and Relief Measures (CI FARM) initiated by the previous government, Jay Ebanks’ agriculture ministry has announced that the relief will only continue for one more month. No more applications will be accepted and everyone on the programme already or waiting approval will only be assisted until the end of June, and anyone receiving grants will no longer receive additional credit on their voucher cards.

Those with residual value on their cards will be able to purchase seeds, fertilisers and other agricultural inputs from the Department of Agriculture with that credit up until 30 November.

The new minister responsible for agriculture stated in a release that he was “actively reviewing” the sector and resources needed for the modernisation and enhancement of food and nutrition security. “The ministry will be adjusting the level of assistance that will deliver more benefits to the various sub-sectors to stimulate agricultural growth, strengthen and improve productivity, storage, and other capacities,” he said.

CI FARM was launched in December 2020 to provide economic support to the local farming community negatively affected by the COVID-19. Since its inception, over 1,200 farmers have benefited from the relief measures.

Last week Ebanks said the programme would help to stabilize agricultural businesses that have lost revenues and incurred expenses related to the interruption caused by the COVID-19, and he had thanked his predecessor, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, for establishing the initiative and the PACT Cabinet for continuing it.

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Category: Agriculture, Business

Comments (54)

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  1. NA says:

    This is not accurate, the assistance provided to farmers was a part of another government initiative to help farmers PRIOR to COVID-19. It’s unfortunate that the new minister is not aware of the history behind the assistance. If anything, farmers should be supported more considering the fact that the entire island was panic buying in fears of loss of food security.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is the correct decision at this point in time. Let’s hope that the ministry is being honest when it says that it “will be adjusting the level of assistance that will deliver more benefits to the various sub-sectors to stimulate agricultural growth, strengthen and improve productivity, storage, and other capacities”.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So is it true that Morritts Tortuga hotel called back their employees to work and and government still paying each one their stipend? If so this is outrageous! Cut the freebies off!

  4. Anonymous says:

    If this is being stopped because undeserving people are once again benefiting I want to hear an explanation from Juliana it was her program to begin with

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. Deserving people were cut off as well. People should have been vetted properly so that people who were supposed could continue getting for the last month.

  5. Anonymous says:

    PACT … we won’t teach you to fish,,, but you can have a whopper if you take the vaccine

  6. Anonymous says:

    Remind me how the pandemic is continuing to impact local agricultural businesses? Given the sheer volume of produce imported still, is it really the case that we required open borders to provide sufficient demand for local agriculture? I’m not convinced, but I will admit I don’t know the level to which restaurants, for example, may have reduced their purchasing and whether that is material in this area.

    • Anonymous says:

      Does the local farmers rely on tourism????so why the hand outs

      • Anonymous says:

        Could it be because some politicians also have farms and extort supermarkets into paying them high prices before the little farmers?

    • Anonymous says:


      Restaurant, hotel, condo, guesthouse purchases represent more than 50% of the local agricultural sales.

      American tourists (in the main) don’t want the garbage that they leave behind and local residents (particularly Caymanians) prefer that a garbage.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks! As noted, I wasn’t sure where the demand from their primary market was so was struggling to understand the extent to which the closed borders would have impacted their sales.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Now you know he didn’t write that statement 😂

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hmm this hardly seems sensible. The one subsidy that has promise to hell people become self sustainable by becoming farmers and they pull the plug. I thought PACT was about teaching a man to fish ? We continue the tourism stipend, offer people a $10,000 raffle and free whoppers to get a vaccine but the one program where someone could eventually not need Govt assistance and be able to feed themselves and others is scrapped. Sounds like they want us to forever be depending on the government.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wow…talking out of two sides of your mouth much? How disgusting

  10. Shane Mcdermot says:

    A complete disaster. And yes mainly Jamaicans got it but they are the main farmers also when the government gave out all these citizenships there is less for your original caymanians simple. This was all political why recieve this help just before elections. Cayman has farmers who have no land nothing but got assistance. This only hurted the real farmers.our government is a joke.

    • Anonymous says:

      If Agricultural Department had read the applications instead of approving everything then it would have worked. The land could have been checked before approval as well.

      Cayman Brac and Little Cayman would have been very easy to find out but it is just like Paloma and Credit Union instead of having Credit Union vet applicants, Cayman did it themselves.

      I don’t know why you are going on about Jamaicans since if you are who you think you are then you are too.

      I’m so sorry for the ones that it will hurt. We have many Caymanian farmers.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Maybe he found out like the Tourism stipend there are many that don’t need it but still sucking on the Government tit.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Every Jamaica, Honduran and Philippino in this Island is suddenly a farmer 👩‍🌾, Caymanians receiving this is very limited!!! Good job Hon. Minister 👏👏👏👏

    • Anonymous says:

      You needed either a Cayman passport or voter ID to sign up, so it was only given to Caymanians, whether by birth or otherwise. As long as you could prove you Cayman citizenship using one of these two forms of ID, you could qualify.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Smart move Minister, as I understand that some farmers receiving the stipends has been making purchases at a discounted rate and setting up shop and selling the same at an enormous mark up price. But better yet, the Jamaica’s and Hondurans has been getting it free and sending it back home. Guess who will pay IN ALWAYS for this? CAYMANIANS.

    • Anonymous says:

      The real farmers shouldn’t suffer for the others. Agricultural Department is supposed to check the properties.

    • Anonymous says:

      Farmers don’t get stipends. You can get $400 each month of supplies. However, if you don’t use $350 then you don’t get the $400 the next month.

  14. Just Askin’ says:

    1200 farmers?? Seriously??!! I don’t know how many there are in all three islands, and I would be happy to be proved wrong but this number doesn’t sound right. What exactly is the definition of a farmer for this scheme and where exactly are all these farms? Block and parcel number please.
    How much money has been given to whom and on what basis?? And what exactly do they grow and produce and why did it need tax-payer financial subsidy?
    It sounds like the new Minister responsible is asking the same questions and is coming up with a politically unpalatable but necessary answer.
    When the history of Covid-19 is finally written, a large part of it will show that governments around the world needlessly gave untold amounts of money to undeserving persons and entities – to update an old joke, a trillion here, a trillion there and pretty soon you’re talking real money!
    We will all pay the bill in the years to come by way of inflation and increased taxation. To those who are too young to remember or have not studied their history, this should terrify you, but you should know that my mortgage rate in the 1980’s, during a period of severe inflation, was 16%. Don’t even think it could not occur again – the beginnings may already be happening – watch your petrol and grocery bills for a start.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have a basil plant, mint and breadfruit tree. I’m a farmer?

    • Anonymous says:

      Farmers here are like seamen. Their numbers always seem to be on the increase, despite the fact that there is very little arable land and no ( or hardly any) Caymanian has gone to sea since the early 1970s. Could it have anything to do with the easy availability of government handouts and benefits………?

  15. Anonymous says:

    That sucks! I invested in equipment and supplies to start up a small farming business, but now it looks like I’ll have to finance everything myself. That makes starting up a bit more difficult, but I think I can still make it work without them. So it goes when you’re relying on the Government for help.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Tourism stipend ends June 30th.

    • Anonymous says:

      To the unvaccinated? That would make sense. Stopping it altogether without phasing, does not.

    • Anonymous says:

      That should be need based as well. A lot of these people have full time jobs so they shouldn’t be receiving it anymore. There are people that really need it though.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Interesting vocal contradictions much!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Enlight of this untimely notice, can the Minister of Tourism please clarify how much longer the Tourism Stipend will go for?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wotes done locked in. That’s what it was all about anyway.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Say wha?

  21. Anonymous says:

    LOL. “Seafarers” next..

    • Anonymous says:

      3:29 do not disrespect our seafarers who did more for the Cayman Islands than you ever will in your lifetime.

      • Anonymous says:

        29/05/2021 at 7:49 am Thank you for defending our seafarers! We owe much to these brave men and their families for the sacrifice they made to help us all. Anyone who knows our history would know that in great part they provided the means to help build the foundation for where we are today. Furthermore, there are not many left and with the cost of living being so high in these islands each of them need their Seamen’s Pension. Please do not touch anything to bring hardship on our seamen.

        • Anonymous says:

          “There are not many left”. Say wha? That’s not what the numbers of “pensions” being paid out suggests. I would love Denniston Tibbetts or one of them boys to explain why there still seem to be so many after all these years and to give us some numbers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolutely seafarers built Cayman.

        • Anonymous says:

          So, 2:01, the seafarers wrote the laws and set up our financial services industry?

          • Anonymous says:


            The work of the seafarers certainly created the social harmony and welcoming atmosphere that allowed others to come here and benefit.

            So don’t be a close-minded bigot…. it took all to work together to create the Cayman of today!

      • Anonymous says:

        The point is that there are very few of our brave hardworking seafarers still alive. There are persons on seafarers pension that don’t qualify. These frauds collecting a pension is what is disrespectful to the true seafarers. The true seafarers were the foundation of our island.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Most getting are Jamaican anyway

    • Anonymous says:

      Smh, only an illiterate and ignorant person would say this. Farming is vital as it allows countries to reduce its expenditure on imports and increase its ability to be self reliant, especially in emergencies where the global food supply chains are affected. Regardless of which nationality is getting the grants, the outcome benefits the Cayman Islands. Stop being dark and blinded by hatred.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually no! There are many Caymanians benefiting from this

    • Anonymous says:

      your point being?

    • bwt says:

      Jamaicans with status.

    • Anonymous says:

      You had to show either a Cayman passport or Cayman voter ID, so I’m sure that non-citizens were not getting the allowance. I had to email a copy of my voter ID to get the allowance.

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