The Government will be providing more than $100 million in material and services to assist with the restoration of farming in the worse-affected parishes.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, made the announcement on Tuesday (Nov. 6) in the House of Representatives, where she gave an update on the Government’s assistance to the various sectors in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Like Us Facebook for More News and Information
She informed that 6,000 farmers will be provided with vegetable seeds valued at $13.2 million; while another 400 will receive day-old chicks and animal feed at a cost of $4 million. Also to be provided is 18,666 bags of fertilizer valued at $30.3 million and tractor services will be made available through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to assist 750 farmers with land preparation.
Tools for pruning will be provided to affected cocoa farmers including chain saws, guide bars, cutlass files and cutlasses valued at $500,000. Cocoa farmers will also receive some 9,006 bags of fertilizer valued at $14.5 million.
[RELATED: Gov't Negotiates $100 Million Loan Package for Banana Farmers]
In addition, more than 22, 222 bags of fertilizer of different blends, valued at $40 million, will be distributed to affected coffee farmers, while some $20 million in grants will be made available for the provision of critical equipment to marine fishers and affected persons in the aquaculture industry.
"We are doing all that we can to restore our agricultural sector to full production as soon as possible, utilising available resources,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She also noted that repairs to the irrigation system are being made through the re-allocation of the National Irrigation Commission’s budgetary resources.
Some 37,000 farmers were affected by the passage of Hurricane Sandy with banana, plantain, root and tubers, vegetables, condiments and fruits being the worst affected areas. The cost of the damage to the sector is $1.43 billion, which is $700,000 less than the $1.5 billion preliminary estimate.
A total of 3,600 farmers reported damage to livestock totalling $95 million, while the aquaculture industry sustained damage estimated at $91 million, and the irrigation infrastructure was also significantly impacted at a cost of $62 million.
The most recent assessment puts the crop loss sustained by the cocoa industry at 24,500 boxes, up from the previously reported 21,500 boxes.
Approximately 20 per cent of the un-reaped Blue Mountain Coffee berries have been loss, which is estimated at 31,600 boxes with a value of $101 million. Twelve per cent of the remaining crop of High Mountain Coffee has also been lost, which is an estimated 4,522 boxes valued at $9 million.