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JIS News

Farmers in Clarendon have lost approximately $69.5 million in crop and livestock as a result of the heavy rains and landslides associated with the passage of Hurricane Wilma last month.
Percival Shaw, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Parish Manager for Clarendon, told JIS News that 200 hectares of crops valued at about $42.8 million and $26.7 million worth of livestock, were affected.
“Out of all the crops that were affected by the flooding, the vegetables have fared the worst as about 115 hectares were cultivated in vegetables. The majority of the losses to livestock is also in the poultry area and about 6,000 farmers have been affected overall,” he said.
He noted that vegetable farms along riverbanks were seriously affected by the flooding, with crops such as calaloo and pumpkin suffering the heaviest losses. Subsequently, he said that there would be a shortage in the market for vegetables in the short term and consumers could expect to pay higher prices.
He assured however, that the shortage should be alleviated in time for Christmas, as farmers were already replanting six-week crops such as calaloo, string bean, lettuce, cucumber, and pak choy. He noted also, that some farmers had seedlings in nurseries and these were ready to be transplanted.
Turning to livestock, Mr. Shaw told JIS News that while a number of goats and chickens were lost during the flood rains, poultry farmers were benefiting from assistance under the Jamaica Business Recovery Programme (JBRP), the Government Production Incentive Programme, and other schemes.
This assistance under the JBRP started prior to Hurricane Wilma and has since intensified, so that farmers should have chickens available for the Christmas season, Mr. Shaw said.
Farming communities affected by the rains include Mason River, McNie, Tate, Rhoden Hall, Reckford, Sandy River, Bog Hole, Kellits, Aenon Town, and Crofts Hill in the northern part of the parish, while farmers in Ebony Park, Tolgate, Rhymesbury, Milk River, Sandy Bay, Clarendon Park, Vernamfield and Four Paths in the central and southern parts of the parish also suffered losses.