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  • The Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), will be working with the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) to ensure the replanting of coffee plants in the Blue Mountain region damaged by recent fires.
  • In a Statement to the House of Representatives on May 12, portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said the Ministry has already identified the source for some 100,000 seedlings for replanting in the fall crop, starting in September.
  • He further noted that the Ministry will be assisting with the provision of some inputs to assist with the replanting programme.

The Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), will be working with the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) to ensure the replanting of coffee plants in the Blue Mountain region damaged by recent fires.

In a Statement to the House of Representatives on May 12, portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said the Ministry has already identified the source for some 100,000 seedlings for replanting in the fall crop, starting in September.

He further noted that the Ministry will be assisting with the provision of some inputs to assist with the replanting programme.

The Minister said that members of extension support team remain on full alert on the ground to provide the necessary advice and extension services.

Mr. Kellier informed that the Coffee Industry Board has advised that to date, some 120 hectares of coffee valued at $60 million have been destroyed.

However, the Minister pointed out that so far, over 90 per cent of the current coffee crop was already reaped prior to the fires.

Mr. Kellier said that it is estimated that the loss over a three-year period will be some $100 million and an additional $100 million will be required to assist with the replanting programme.

For communities, such as Mavis Bank, Flamstead and Content, preliminary estimates indicate that some 500 acres of agricultural lands have been destroyed by the fires, resulting in the loss of crops valued at $200 million.

“Given that the majority of our small farmers are located on marginal hillside lands, it is of paramount importance that we continue to implement and maintain the practice of climate-smart agriculture, to include the construction of hillside ditches, trenches and stone and contour barriers,” Mr. Kellier said.

Meanwhile, the Minister is appealing to farmers to desist from the slash and burn method to clear lands.

“I am beseeching our farmers to resist the temptation to light fires.  I urge you to speak to your RADA officers about alternative means of clearing lands.  I further appeal to the general citizenry to be more conscious about the impact that our burning practices can have on life, property and production.  Desist, therefore, from indiscriminately throwing your cigarette butts, or lighting fires to get rid of your solid waste,” Mr. Kellier urged.