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A total of 1,590 farmers in Portland have benefited from the relief assistance programme implemented by Government to assist farmers who were affected by Hurricane Ivan, which ravaged the island last year September.
Cyril Chambers, Parish Manager for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Portland, said the assistance was provided by the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR) and distributed to the farmers in the form of vouchers to be used in procuring farming tools and material, as they continue the effort to resuscitate their farms.The assistance is being made available to the farmers after assessment of the damage and loss they suffered is conducted by the RADA office.
Mr. Chambers said that of the farmers benefiting so far, 1,300 have received vouchers valued at $5,000 each, another 250 presented with vouchers worth $3,000 each, and 48 given vouchers valued at $3,500 each.
He pointed out that those farmers who have not yet received assistance would be given their vouchers soon, adding that they were also being specially targeted to benefit from a seed distribution programme to be implemented by RADA, through the instrumentality of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Mr. Chambers said he was confident that the farmers would use the assistance to enhance the effort they have been making to revive agricultural production in Portland to the level it was before the hurricane.
The Parish Manager emphasised that RADA would continue to work closely with the farming community in the parish to achieve that objective.