Over $500 Million Secured for Recovery of Agricultural Sector


Agriculture Minister, Roger Clarke has said that a total of $502.62 million has been secured to date, for rehabilitation and restoration activities in the agricultural sector following Hurricane Ivan.
Of this amount, $128.5 million has been channeled through the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR) and $374.12 million through other sources, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Jamaica Business Recovery Programme, which has allocated US$2,941,500 to restore agricultural businesses to pre-hurricane levels of production.
Mr. Clarke was responding to questions tabled in the House of Representatives yesterday (Feb. 15) by Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture, J.C. Hutchinson regarding the total amount of money received so far to assist farmers affected by the passage of Hurricane Ivan last September.
Giving a breakdown of funding through the ONR, Mr. Clarke said that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) had provided $90 million; Hardware and Lumber $.5million; Agro-Grace, $12.5 million; Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), $20 million and Project East, $5.5 million.
Meanwhile, other benefits received and not channeled through the ONR include: $288 million from the European Union (EU); $38.8 million by the Export Division of the Ministry of Agriculture; $12.2 million provided by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); $24.5 million provided by the Council for Voluntary Social Services (CVSS)/United Way, through the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS); $9.4 million under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)/Ride to Reef Watershed project (R2RW); and $1.22 million provided by a Japanese coffee importer, from Ueshima Coffee Company Limited.
Mr. Clarke noted that the $208 million being provided by the European Union would come from funds under the Banana Improvement Programme, while the Export Division of the Ministry would spend its funds to resuscitate 163,240 pimento trees on 2,252 hectares (5,630 acres) of land islandwide. This programme is to begin shortly.
The FAO programme, which is already underway, will target 6,000 farmers across the island and will be completed by April. Vegetable seeds and fertilizers are also provided under the programme.
The Agriculture Minister further noted that the allocation of benefits from CVSS/United Way was being distributed through the Jamaica Agricultural Society to farmers islandwide. This includes an allocation of $5.432 million to fisherfolk through the fishing cooperatives.
Meanwhile, a total of $4.5 million had been allocated to date from funds received from the USAID and IICA, with each allocating $2.4 million and $2.5 million respectively. Under this programme, a total of 93 farmers in the parishes of St. Catherine, Manchester and St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, Westmoreland, Hanover and St. Thomas have benefited to date.
Mr. Clarke informed that benefits provided included 315 bags of fertilizer, seeds, 42,425 vegetable seedlings, 44,800 fingerlings, 75 tons of feed and 10 aerators to aquaculture farmers in St. Catherine and Clarendon, pesticides, herbicides, irrigation equipment and 30 gilts. Another $4.9 million is available the Minister said and distribution of supplies would commence shortly.
The livestock, fishery and horticultural sub sectors and small and medium-sized enterprises have benefited under the Jamaica Business Recovery Programme.
Mr. Clarke said the comprehensive programme would “provide new technological packages, training and materials for the targeted groups with the aim of getting them back to pre-Hurricane Ivan production levels of production and eventually moving them beyond in as short a time as possible”.

JIS Social