Advertisement
JIS News

The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) St. Catherine Parish Office is reporting that some 90 hectares of agricultural crops valued at over $21 million were destroyed by floods associated with the passage of Hurricane Wilma last week.
“But the true extent of the damage would not be known until the water has receded,” RADA Parish Manager, Andrew Carty told JIS News, stating that more than 5,000 farmers were directly affected by the flood rains.
Mr. Carty said losses from the livestock sector were estimated to be “in excess of $7 million.” He noted that all domestic agricultural crops including pulses, vegetables and condiments were affected.
He said that among other crops, citrus, coffee, cocoa and bananas also suffered as a result of the flooding. Ground provision was also lost, chiefly to excess flooding.
“It is really heart rending, but the farmers are resilient people and will not lie down and play dead. They are going to get back into business as quickly as possible,” he said noting that the farmers had not fully recovered from the effects of Hurricanes Dennis and Emily.
Currently, Mr. Carty said, farmers are out in the fields trying to salvage some of their crops as well as clearing the lands of debris and cutting channels to drain off excess water.
Additionally, he said, farmers whose produce was not severely affected by the floods were replanting their fields as well as fertilizing and spraying their crops with fungicide, where necessary.
Mr. Carty said that RADA Extension Officers had been advising farmers on pest management measures and proper land preparation.
“We are also advising that they be very careful with land preparation at this time because if the land is too soggy it could lead to the destruction of the soil structure,” he said. They were also advised how to plant their crops to avoid soil erosion.
Because some lands are still under water and might take some time for land preparation, Mr. Carty said, there may be a shortage of some food crops such as vegetables, cucumber, pumpkin, tomatoes, cabbage, pulses and condiments.
Concerning the care of animals, Mr. Carty is advising farmers to avoid giving animals “contaminated feed and water” and to look out for any excess signs of breathing, which could be a sign of pneumonia.
He also advised that poultry units be properly dried out, wet litter replaced and carcasses of dead animals disposed of properly.