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Minister of State for Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Ian Hayles, is advising all farmers, who have suffered losses as a result of the recent passing of Hurricane Sandy, to make a report to the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) by Friday (November 2), in order to be considered for assistance.

“I am saying to all the farmers across the country, ensure that by the end of this week you make all the necessary reports to the RADA office. It is very important if you want to go back early into production,” he stated.

He was addressing a press conference at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) office in Claremont, St. Ann, today (October 31), prior to touring the parish.

Preliminary figures are showing estimated damage of $2 billion to the agricultural sector as a result of the hurricane. RADA and several other agencies are now conducting assessments to decide how best to channel available assistance to the farming community. 

Mr. Hayles said that once farmers make their reports to RADA, the government will do all within its powers to provide assistance.

“The procurement, in terms of fertilisers started on Monday (Oct. 29), but as I say, I want all the farmers to come in by this Friday, the deadline will be this Friday, when we can have some final numbers so that we can start doing our distribution, and knowing what the total dollar amount in terms of procurement is,” he stated.

He advised those, who cannot get to a RADA office to “try and find your Member of Parliament or your Member of Parliament’s office…if you do not have any of those try and call your (RADA) extension officer and make your report…it is very important that we have a final list that represents the true figures of what we will be dealing with going forward."

Mr. Hayles said reports of loss or damage can also be lodged by calling the toll free line 1-888-275- 7232 (ASK-RADA).

He stated that the Ministry of Agriculture is committed to the over 220,000 farmers that it serves across the island, and wants to do everything to ensure that they are put back into production as soon as possible.

Mr. Hayles’ visit to St. Ann was to get a firsthand look at the extent of damage to farms from the passage of the hurricane. Minister of Youth and Culture, and Member of Parliament for North Eastern St. Ann, Hon. Lisa Hanna was also on the tour.