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Agriculture ministry assessing impact of flooding on farmers

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karl Samuda has announced that an assessment is now being conducted on the extent of damage to the agricultural sector as a result of heavy rains this week.The ministry in a release said teams from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) are on the ground conducting damage assessments and as soon as accessibility permits in some areas, preliminary figures will be obtained as to the true state of damage done to the agricultural sector.

Samuda said it is expected, that the losses to the agricultural sector will be in the millions of dollars due to widespread damage to crops, livestock and infrastructure.

“We know that areas of extensive vegetable production such as Clarendon (Kellits and Bog Hole), St Catherine and St Ann are under flood water. There are also reports of flooding in areas of St Elizabeth, resulting in crop losses. We received unconfirmed reports of loss of cows, goats and pigs in Clarendon and St Thomas. Broiler farmers are also affected,” said Samuda.

The agriculture minister said major interventions will be needed from the ministry to assist the sector to return to production within the shortest time. He also added that access to seeds, seedlings and other inputs will be critical at this time.

According to Samuda, “the ministry stands ready to continue to support and provide productivity incentives to our farmers who continue to face risks through weather related events of drought and floods as well as pests and diseases. We will do so through our Production Incentive Fund which now stands at some $200m.”

“Once the estimates of damage have been completed by RADA, we will therefore undertake the allocation of funding and input supply to those farmers who have been affected by these floods,” Samuda said.

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