GOJ to Flagaman farmers rescue

GOJ to Flagaman farmers rescue

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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Two months after fire caused damages to farm lands of several farmers in Flagaman, St Elizabeth, the Government has provided approximately $50 million worth of relief supplies for 47 farmers in Flagaman, who suffered losses during the fire on August 16.

The farmers received 28 black water tanks, irrigation fixtures, hoses, and more than 100 bags of fertilizers. They were also provided with over 30 truckloads of guinea grass, to be used for mulching.

Some of the supplies were handed over by the state minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), Floyd Green, during a ceremony at the Pedro Plains Anglican Church Hall in St Elizabeth last Friday. Green said the Government was inspired to initiate and expedite the relief effort to ensure that the farmers get back into production in short order, as they are deemed critical to safeguarding Jamaica's food security.

“When we came and saw the devastation, we decided that we had to quickly get to work, because Flagaman is too important a community to allow it to not be able to produce… [as it] has the most registered farmers of any community in Jamaica,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state minister lauded the private sector entities that contributed to more than $2 million worth of supplies for the affected farmers. Among the contributions to the recovery were drums for agricultural use, fertilizers and hybrid vegetable seeds.

Members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade were also recognised for their efforts in preventing more significant losses from the blaze.

Marcus Richards, managing director of Hardware and Lumber (H&L) Limited (one of the contributing entities), who spoke at the function said: “We respect the hard work of farmers.

Their sacrifice defines, and in many ways, makes life possible on this island. The struggle that is farming in Jamaica is perhaps lost on the average consumer.” Richards affirmed H&L Agro's commitment to working with the MICAF and Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA) for the continued development of agriculture.

“The diligence and courage of the Jamaican farmer serve as an inspiration and a call to action for all of us at H&L Agro. We stand with you, as we always have—what we offer is a hand-up, not a hand-out,” he said.

John Davis, a farmer in the area who was affected by the fire and who also received assistace, said that, “the drums, for example, couldn't have come at a better time, because most of us lost ours to the fire despite our best efforts.

The support from H&L Agro will really help us to put back into our farms until things turn around, so it is much appreciated”.

According to the latest estimates provided by RADA, the fire affected more than 20 acres of land, consuming crops such as melons, cantaloupes and sweet peppers that were almost ready to be harvested. The overall loss suffered was approximately $45 million.

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