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JIS News

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has begun assessing damage caused to the country’s agricultural sector by torrential rains associated with Hurricane Wilma. The more than five days of heavy showers has caused severe flooding in many farming communities. Deputy Executive Director of RADA, Thomas Burton told JIS News that each parish had a database of farmers and their activities and that this would provide information on the crops which had been adversely affected.
“We can use that as a guide to what was in the field at this particular time. Then we’d know what would be more prone to flood and wind damage and then we could make an investigation into those particular areas,” Mr. Burton explained.
He further explained that attention is being paid to particular flood prone parishes.
“There are parishes that are more susceptible to flooding and wind damage. Parishes like Clarendon is under serious water, parts of St. Elizabeth in the southern plains, the North would be susceptible to wind damage and the sugarcane areas are more to the North. This will affect juice quality when the crop opens in November so you can look for reduction in cane tonne, tonne sugar ratio,” the Director informed.
He further informs that the Agriculture Business Information System (ABIS) will aid RADA in its assessment of damage to the agri-sector from the heavy rains.
“One of the five services is the register which is a listing of all of the members of a given stakeholder group so we’re looking at a register, one for farmers, one for buyers and one for input sellers.
But our attention has been the agri census of 1996, and we started last year to renew this register by doing an islandwide registration programme,” Mr. Burton explained.
He added that the old and new registers gave RADA the capability to identify all farmers and farms in particular areas that may have been affected by the rains. From those records RADA will assess crops and livestock holdings and make an assessment of the losses incurred.