JIS News

Some 3,800 farmers in St. James have suffered losses as a result of Hurricane Dean, with approximately 640 hectares (1,600 acres) of fruit and vegetable crops valued at more than $64 million destroyed. Preliminary estimates from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) reveal that more than 80 per cent of banana cultivation in the southern sections of the parish was wiped out, with Kensington, Maroon Town, Flagstaff, Garlands, Amity Hall, Cambridge, Niagra and Catadupa, being the hardest hit areas.
Parish Agricultural Manager for RADA St. James, Wentworth Mitchell, told JIS News that every effort will be made to assist the affected farmers. He noted however that farmers not registered with RADA may face some difficulty. According to Mr. Mitchell, “we have a number of farmers who were affected, who have not actually come in to register with us, which is going to pose another serious problem. From Hurricane Ivan, it was spelt out to all farmers that one main reason why every farmer should be registered with RADA is that when we have a disaster it would guide us as to who is the genuine farmer.”
He told JIS News that “from time to time people will come on board to say that they have lost when they are not really farmers . and in the end a lot of our good farmers would be left out and not benefit from assistance or compensation. We are going to be doing tours of these farms to verify the level of devastation suffered for the authorities to decide what type of assistance would be given, so I hope that good sense will prevail and that all farmers would get registered now.”
In the meantime, he advised those farmers with the means “to begin now to resuscitate the fields . because we do not want them to wait and allow those fields to remain in the conditions they are presently in . we want farmers to start helping themselves until help from government or other source arrive”. He assured that “RADA is here to support them in whatever way we can and we hope that farmers within a short period will be able to get back into full production.”

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