JIS News

Poultry farmers in St. Catherine who suffered losses during Hurricane Ivan have begun receiving vouchers last week from the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR), to assist in their rehabilitation efforts.
The vouchers, which are each valued at $3,500, are being distributed by the Parish Office of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Linstead.
Several farmers who turned up at the RADA office on Tuesday (January 25) were happy to receive their vouchers.
“This will help me to bring back what I lost. It may not bring back all, but I’m satisfied that I got something,” Lloyd Green, poultry farmer from Gibraltar told JIS News. Mr. Green said that after the hurricane, he had used some of his savings to build a small chicken house, where he was now rearing chickens. “This will help me to go on,” he added.
Another farmer, Victoria McDonald, who lost 60 chickens to the hurricane, said she was very grateful for the assistance. “I am grateful for this little money. It’s not big, but it will help the situation,” she said.
Miss McDonald explained that after the hurricane she utilized her savings to purchase some 100 chickens, which would mature within the next few weeks.
RADA Parish Manager, Andrew Carty, told JIS News that the office would be distributing some 976 vouchers to assist poultry farmers in their rebuilding efforts. So far, he said, 60 per cent had been distributed to farmers. The vouchers are redeemable at agricultural stores in the parish for chickens, feed and medication.
Mr. Carty said approximately 100 farmers visited the office daily to register under the Agri-Business Information System (ABIS) programme and to collect their vouchers, since the distribution exercise began last week.
Mr. Carty noted that farmers were being asked, before collecting their vouchers, to register under the online marketing programme that was being developed by RADA to help them to better produce and market their crops.
“It’s a bit time consuming, but it is all within good stead because during the registration process, we are able to identify some of the opportunists who try to get on board and they are immediately eliminated from the system,” he added. RADA’s extension staff and youth service workers have been assisting in the registration process.
He also informed that farmers who suffered crop losses during the hurricane should begin receiving their vouchers by the second week of February. Some 6,321 farmers in the parish were assessed for Hurricane Ivan damage.

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