JIS News

The St. Catherine office of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), has reported that agricultural production in the parish had reached some 80 per cent following the passage of Hurricane Ivan last September.
RADA parish Manager, Andrew Carty, told JIS News that currently there was an over-supply of produce such as tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce and other vegetables. He noted that the increase in production was as a result of farmers getting back into production immediately after the hurricane.
“I should really commend the farmers of this parish for their resilience. They didn’t sit down and wait on government’s assistance to get back into farming,” Mr. Carty stated.
He said that farmers who had seedlings that were not affected by the hurricane immediately started cultivating while others received planting materials from other sources or utilized their savings to get back into production. “They wanted to cash in on the lucrative market and as a result this has caused a glut at this time,” he said.
Mr. Carty said that during the replanting process, RADA Extension Officers advised farmers on pest management measures to fight diseases and pests. They were also advised how to plant their crops to avoid soil erosion.
“We also collected relevant data on the amount of crop that was being planted and this was actually passed on to our marketing intelligence unit so that they could assist with markets,” he added.
Despite the rebound in vegetable crops in the parish, the parish manager noted that a few farmers cultivating semi-permanent crops, such as coffee and cocoa, might still be experiencing difficulties. He said that a number of farmers are in need of power saws to remove fallen trees from their farms.
Meanwhile the RADA parish office has been distributing vouchers to poultry farmers who suffered losses during the hurricane. So far, some 60 per cent of the 976 vouchers have been distributed. In addition, some 6,321 farmers assessed by RADA for crop losses, are expected to receive vouchers valued from 3,500 to 10,000 by the next week.

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