JIS News

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), in its preliminary release, has reported that crops valued at $9.37 million were destroyed as a result of the recent heavy rains and flooding.
While the northern parishes were not as badly affected as the southern, the parishes of Clarendon, St. Catherine, St. Andrew, St. Thomas, St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Westmoreland were most affected.
RADA Field Officer, Denton Alvaranga, in an interview with JIS News, explained that crop loss was significant in the area of vegetables. Most of these vegetables are cash crops, which mature in six to eight weeks. The cash crops most severely affected are in the non-traditional category, which include, carrot, string bean, tomato, and pakchoi.
Other non-traditional crops, which were hard-hit, are pulses such as cow peas, papaya, cauliflower and melon. Unfortunately, these are the crops that small farmers rely on.
Traditional and staple crops, such as cabbage, callaloo, cucumber, pumpkin and broccoli also suffered damage.
In addition, livestock such as broiler and layer chickens received a severe blow, as did the goat sector.
Condiments like escallion, and hot pepper which is the primary ingredient for sauce factories, and sweet pepper a major revenue earner, were all severely affected.
The preliminary estimates are: Vegetables, $4.6 million; pulses, $1. 9 million; livestock including pigs, $715,000; condiments including thyme, $1.735; and cereal, such as, corn, plantain and sorrel, $1.060 million.
Hectares of vegetable lands destroyed amounted to 18.5 due to flooded fields, wind damage, land slippage and gully scouring while pulse lands destroyed were 5.1 hectares. The number of livestock killed was 1,650.
Lands used for condiments farming saw 5.7 hectares destroyed while four hectares of cereal lands were devastated. The main districts which produce these products are, Westphalia, Hall’s Delight, St. Peters, Brandon Hill, Mount James, Rock Hall, Salisbury Plain, King Weston, Kings House, Woodford, Middleton, Top Mountain, Temple Hall, Mavis Bank, Constitution Hill, and Mt. Airy.
The livelihoods of some 1,200 farmers have been compromised.