JIS News

Farmers in the parish of St. James, who suffered damage during the passage of Hurricane Ivan last September, have received vouchers valued at approximately $400,000 for replanting.
The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) distributed the first 124 vouchers to farmers recently, with the majority going to poultry farmers and the remainder handed out to vegetable farmers.
Audley Bailey, Acting RADA Parish Manager for St. James, told JIS News that assessments of damaged farms have been completed and some 3,377 forms submitted to the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR) for assistance.
“The poultry farmers are receiving their assistance now and will be able to use these vouchers to purchase agricultural inputs such as baby chicks, feeds and medication. The vegetable farmers will be able to purchase seeds, chemicals and spraying equipment”, Mr. Bailey told JIS News.
He pointed out that farmers, who cultivated semi-permanent crops such as banana, plantain, pumpkin and related crops, and who were not registered with the ONR, would be receiving assistance from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
“The FAO has come to the assistance of these farmers and has sent seeds, tools and fertilizers, which will be distributed through RADA to these affected farmers by the end of the week . we are hoping that things will return to normal as soon as possible so that farmers can get good returns from their investments”, Mr. Bailey stated.
Meanwhile, the Acting Parish Manager has reported that the parish’s agriculture sector had rebounded “tremendously” and that there was now an over-supply of certain produce such as tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables.
“There are visible signs to indicate that agricultural production will increase steadily as the level of production seen immediately after the hurricane was very encouraging. We have seen increase in both productivity and production as farmers have began to reap much more from the same acreage and extended acreages being put into agriculture,” he noted.
He told JIS News, “that one of our main objectives at RADA St. James is to increase production for the 2004/05 financial year by at least 10 to 12 per cent and there are signs that this can be achieved. I am hoping that farmers who have been assessed and are presently awaiting assistance from whatever source, will receive same, so that they can get back on their feet as far as agriculture is concerned”, Mr. Bailey stated.

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