The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is reporting an estimated $700 million in damage to the sector from Hurricane Sandy, which impacted the island on October 24. Portfolio Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, says a preliminary assessment is indicating that some areas, particularly banana and farm roads, suffered considerable damage.
“The estimates coming out of 11 parishes indicate that we have suffered some $700 million worth of damage and that does not include St. Thomas, Portland and parts of St. Catherine. Those areas were hit hard,” the Minister said. A team from the Ministry, accompanied by representatives from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), will be in the field to carry out further assessments, he noted.
According to Mr. Clarke, the Ministry is working with the Development Bank of Jamaica to assist with resuscitation of the banana sector. “I want to assure the farmers that the Ministry will try to do what it can to help them back on their feet. We want to assist with seeds, planting materials, fertiliser and chemicals. Whatever we can do, we are going to be there with them to get them back on their feet,” the Minister said.