JIS News

More than 3,500 farmers from St. James, whose holdings were extensively damaged by Hurricane Ivan on September 10, will be receiving assistance from government in the month of November.
A total of $220 million is expected to be distributed by government nationally through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), which has been carrying out farm surveys and assessments to determine the level of assistance to be given to each farmer.
Parish Manager for the St. James RADA office, Audley Bailey told JIS News that farm surveys ended last Thursday (November 4), and final plans for the commencement of distribution were now being fine-tuned, so farmers could “get on with the task of ensuring that their farms were once again up and running”.
“Based on the levels of damage that farmers suffered, they will be placed in categories to determine the size of their assistance. Categories 1 to 4 will see these farmers getting $2,500.00, $5,000.00, $7,500.00 and $10,000.00, respectively,” he pointed out.
“When these vouchers eventually reach the farmers, they will be able to use them to purchase agricultural supplies such as fertilizers, seeds, chemicals and so on,” Mr. Bailey added.
He noted that about $20 million of the total allocation was originally slated for assistance to farmers in other parishes that were affected by Hurricane Charley, which came just before Hurricane Ivan.
These farmers, Mr. Bailey said, were now receiving their allocations, disbursements of which commenced a few weeks ago.
Commenting on the devastation caused by the recent hurricane, the Parish Manager said that the farming community across the country, and in particular in the parish of St. James, suffered greatly.
“Most of the farmers in St. James were seriously affected as 90 per cent to 100 per cent of the major crops, such as banana and plantain, were destroyed or completely wiped out. It will therefore take some time before these farmers can begin to get production going again and really make something from their livelihood,” he said.
“I am therefore happy that this assistance programme will be put in operation soon, so that our farmers can at least try to bring their farms back to full production. My officers at RADA and the entire agricultural sector have made commitments to give farmers all the technical and supervisory support necessary in their efforts at rehabilitating their respective farms,” Mr. Bailey added.

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