The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has commenced the distribution of seeds and pesticides to farmers who were seriously impacted by the passage of Tropical Storm Grace in August.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Audley Shaw, who also has responsibility for Agriculture and Fisheries, made the disclosure at an ‘Eat Jamaican Day’ event held on Thursday (November 25).
He noted that the Banana Board is also distributing fertiliser to banana farmers who have been affected.
To date, 551 of the targeted 1,055 farmers located in the worst-affected parishes of Portland, St. Mary, St. Catherine, and St. James have received fertiliser.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw informed that the Ministry continues to work with cocoa farmers to reduce the incidence of the frosty pod rot disease, through its plant quarantine produce inspection branch.
“Some $63 million has been allocated to conduct management of the disease for the 2021/2022 financial year,” Mr. Shaw said.
He noted that the prevalence of the disease, following the implementation of the management practices, is now at 2.9 per cent, coming from fields that were 100 per cent infected.
“In other words, only 29 out of every 1,000 pods are showing symptoms of the disease,” Mr. Shaw said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry’s praedial larceny prevention coordination unit, headed by Superintendent Oral Pascoe, continues to work assiduously to provide training and sensitisation of stakeholders.
Six capacity-building sessions were held with 101 officers and
for the period January to October 2021, 41 arrests were made compared to 69 arrests for the same period in 2020.
“We urge our farmers to report incidents of theft and to liaise with members of the team to get advice on how to better secure your farms against praedial larceny,” Mr. Shaw said.