JIS News

Following preliminary investigation of the agricultural sector in Manchester, it has been revealed that ground provisions such as yam, irish potatoes and vegetables are among the severely affected crops in the parish, as a result of Hurricane Dean.
Speaking with JIS News, Neville Burrell, Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) Parish Manager for Manchester, said that some 80 acres of yam have been lost, particularly in the yam growing area of North Manchester, while approximately 30 acres of irish potatoes have been destroyed, and the figures could increase.
“Assessment is still underway [as some areas of the parish are still inaccessible] due to inundated roads,” he said.
Mr. Burrell pointed out that assistance to the affected farmers would be facilitated by using the Agri-Business Information System (ABIS), operated by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), while support would be provided through the JAS branch network.
“We are going to look at the system [ABIS] to ascertain who the registered farmers are and priority attention will be given to these farmers,” he emphasized.
Additionally, RADA and JAS officers would be conducting a registration of crops lost, as well as conduct on sight inspection to ascertain the level of damage reported.
He maintained that while supplies are considered the best form of assistance for farmers, cash assistance is recommended in some circumstances.
“In some areas, farmers may need cash assistance to pay day workers as they cannot do all the work by themselves,” he said.
Mr. Burrell explained that farmers in the parish remained resilient and despite the challenges, they are raring to get back into production.
“I don’t see them giving up. A lot of these farmers have no other way to survive; farming is their livelihood, so they wouldn’t give up but they need assistance. Therefore, they need all the help they can get from international agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). We will have to garner all the support we can to get these farmers back on track,” he said.
Manchester was one of the hardest hit parishes, following the passage of Hurricane Dean on August 19. Preliminary reports also indicate that livestock and crops were severely affected in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, Trelawny, St. Thomas and St. Catherine.

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