JIS News

A preliminary estimate of the damage done to the agricultural sector in St. Mary by Hurricane Dean has been put at almost $2 billion by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
A breakdown of the estimate reveals that the greatest damage occurred in the banana industry, with losses amounting to $1.3 billion, followed by pulse production, which sustained a loss of $642 million.
The estimate also indicates other losses, including cereals, $1.7 million; vegetables, $18.6 million; condiments $3.2 million; fruits, $8.9 million; plantains, $53 million; ground provision, $11.5 million; ackee, $450,000; avocado, $180,000; citrus, $450,000; coconuts, $130,000; pimento, $9.6 million; and breadfruit, $1.78 million.
Preliminary indications are that the cocoa sector also suffered a loss of between 30 and 50 per cent, amounting to 11,000 boxes.
Speaking to JIS News, RADA Parish Manager for St. Mary, Victor Edwards said a total of 333 hectares of production in the parish were affected by the impact of the hurricane on August 19.
He said that the final estimate might exceed the amount projected by the preliminary finding, because of the possibility of additional losses and damage being reported, adding that RADA would be making a special effort to ensure that the assessments are conducted as accurately and expeditiously as possible, in order to assist the affected farmers to resuscitate their farms and bring agricultural production in St. Mary back to pre-hurricane levels.
He praised the farmers of the parish for the resilience they have displayed, despite the challenges they have to face. He said that RADA was committed to working with them to ensure that St. Mary remained in the forefront of agricultural production in Jamaica.

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