PNP caretaker wants urgent help for drought-hit Southwest St Elizabeth farmers

PNP caretaker wants urgent help for drought-hit Southwest St Elizabeth farmers

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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ST ELIZABETH, Jamaica —People's National Party (PNP) Caretaker/Candidate for Southwest St Elizabeth, Ewan Stephenson, is calling for urgent help for farmers in the drought-ravaged bread basket parish, as he says hundreds of acres of food crops are perishing for a lack of water.

“The severe drought affecting South St Elizabeth has now reached crisis levels as crops wither and die in the fields, acres at a time. Farmers are desperate for help,” Stephenson said in his plea for help.

Stephenson argued that the people in the area, which is largely dependent on farming, produce and livestock, have suffered great loss and are unable to fulfil their day-to-day financial obligations.

“As a result of the long drought, fires have broken out destroying millions of dollars worth of crops, irrigation equipment and hundreds of acres of farmland”.

“The farmers have been left in a state of despair and desperation with nowhere to turn. They are in serious need of fertilizer, equipment and seeds to restore their farms as soon as the drought breaks,”Stephenson said.

“It is painful to visit the fields only to see the dried stems due to the lack of rain. Ravaged by fire, the once rich alluvial soil now shows wide expanses of brown fields and black /brown gravelly soil; parched and waiting for sustained showers of rain”.

The caretaker noted that affected families, who make their living from farming, are hard pressed to meet back-to-school expenses as their earning power was drastically curtailed over the Summer break on account of the ongoing drought.

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