Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says he will be updating the House of Representatives next Tuesday (November 11) on a “comprehensive” intervention package for farmers who have been dislocated by the heavy rains.
Speaking with JIS News while on a tour of communities in Clarendon, yesterday (November 4), the Minister said in addition to a $15-million emergency fund that has been dispatched to procure seeds and other support for farmers in parishes that have been hit the hardest, the “intervention plan is to help farmers get back to planting as early as possible”.
He pointed out that teams from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) are doing continuous assessments, adding that his Ministry is making sure that the “interventions are timed, so that you can have the best results”.
Farming communities visited by the Minister and personnel from RADA included Ebony Park, Bog Hole, Kellitts, McNie and Mason River.
Mr. Green described as “devastating” the effects on crops from the heavy rains, as some farmers had up to 60 per cent of their crops destroyed.
He reported that for vegetable crops, “we are seeing almost a complete wipeout of upwards of 80 per cent of the normal vegetable crops at this time”. adding that lettuce, cabbage, tomato, sweet peppers, melons and cucumbers have been hit the hardest.
According to the Minister, farmers engaged in protective agriculture, such as greenhouse farming, have “done well”, and only a few have lost roofs due to the strong wind.
“More farmers will have to look to see if they can do a mix of farming methodology… even if you have the open field, you should do some form of protective agriculture,” Mr. Green suggested.