JIS News

The agriculture sector in Portland has suffered more than $5 million worth of damage as a result of recent heavy rains associated with Hurricane Wilma.
According to preliminary estimates prepared by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the majority of the damage involved vegetables, condiments, pulses and livestock.
The estimates indicate that some $3.2 million worth of destruction was done to crops with the remainder accounting for losses and damage relating to livestock and farm roads.
However, for a parish which has become accustomed in recent years to having extensive destruction done to its agriculture by disasters such as hurricanes and flooding, the damage caused by the recent heavy rains are minimal when compared with some of the devastations which have occurred in the past, such as the $259 million worth of destruction caused by the passage of Hurricane Ivan last year.
In a JIS News interview RADA, Parish Manager for Portland, Crawford Clarke said damage was also done to farm roads in a number of communities, although not significant enough to create any serious dislocation in agricultural production in those communities.
Noting that poultry accounted for most of the livestock losses, Mr. Clarke said despite the minimal impact that the rains had on Portland in comparison to other parishes, the effects would cause further setbacks to the parish’s farming community. This, he said, as the parish had not yet fully recovered from the damage caused by Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis.
He noted however, that he was confident that the resilience of the farmers of the parish would enable them to surmount the challenges currently confronting them and maximise agricultural production in Portland.
The Parish Manager said RADA was fully committed to providing the technical assistance necessary to continuously improve and expand agricultural production in the parish, adding that this was already being done through a number of programmes including, the Domestic Food Crop Programme, the Fruit Tree Crop Programme and the Eastern Jamaica Agricultural Support Programme (EJASP).