Agriculture Sector Took Beating from Hurricane Dean


Preliminary reports from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), on the effect of Hurricane Dean on the major sectors, indicate that agriculture took a beating from the heavy winds associated with the system, with banana and vegetable production the worst affected.
Director General of ODPEM, Ronald Jackson, who gave statistics on the damage to the industry on (Aug. 23) at a press conference held at his Camp Road office, said that banana production in the main growing areas of Portland and St. Mary was destroyed, while 42 per cent of the crop in Westmoreland was affected.
About 75 per cent of the country’s vegetable crops was destroyed; sugarcane loss is estimated at 40 per cent; cocoa, 20 per cent; chicken, 20 per cent; while 60 per cent of housing for livestock was affected.
“We’re still awaiting data on the fisheries sector,” Mr. Jackson told journalists, informing that “the teams remain out in the field collecting that information, and we’ll be providing it.”
Turning to tourism, he said that the sector recorded minimal damage, with occurrences reported mainly on the south coast.
In terms of an estimate of the cost of the hurricane damage on the country, Mr. Jackson said that “the preliminary estimates are not yet available, but they are currently working on pulling those together. We anticipate that by next week, we will be way in advance in the valuation process of the impact to the country in terms of cost.”
He noted however, that the field reports bear out the initial assessment that southern St. Catherine, southern Clarendon, southern St. Elizabeth, and sections of southern Manchester have been the most affected areas and the relief teams will continue to work on a priority basis to restore some level of comfort to residents in these areas.
He urged residents in communities not yet reached, to be patient as the agency addresses areas, which by virtue of the health, environmental and social challenges they present, require priority attention.

JIS Social