JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton has indicated that help is on the way for 87 farmers whose farms were recently devastated by fire in the community of Bigwoods, St. Elizabeth.
Speaking yesterday (March 6), at the Bigwoods Primary School, Dr. Tufton noted that in all, more than 300 acres of land would have to be replanted.
“Our initial figure for damage to vegetable crops from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), is approximately $26 million.We are continuing our investigations and I have had words with both the Minister of National Security as well as the Commissioner of Police in regard to the way forward, given the allegations as to what activity started the fire,” he said.
Dr. Tufton encouraged the residents who might have “seen anything” relating to what might have started the fire, to come forward and make a statement. “By early next week, I am expecting some assistance to start trickling down, even as the police continue with the task of trying to find out what really happened here in Bigwoods. In the meantime, I am urging the farmers to try and hold strain and to bear with us while we try to get things sorted out,” he said.
In response to questions posed in relation to the prospect of Jamaica accessing cheaper fertiliser, Dr. Tufton said that up to the end of March, the government had allocated $100 million to help stabilise the price on the local market. “Of course, this subsidy cannot be an indefinite one and so we are also in dialogue with Venezuela with a view to getting some of the raw materials required to manufacture the local fertiliser at a very competitive rate,” he said.

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