RADA estimates rain damage to agriculture sector at close to $2B

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RADA estimates rain damage to agriculture sector at close to $2B

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries says the overall loss to the agricultural sector due to the recent heavy rainfall could amount to some $1.82 billion.

In a statement today, the ministry said the figure is based on a preliminary estimate for both crops and livestock by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

The ministry said a total 11,827 farmers have been impacted as flooding was reported in most parishes, with Clarendon, St Elizabeth, Manchester, St Catherine, St Andrew and St Thomas being the worst affected.

According to the ministry's statement, 11,072 farmers lost a combined total of 14,076 hectares of crops with an estimated preliminary value of just under $1 billion.

“Among the crops lost were legumes, vegetables, condiments, fruits, cereal, plantains, bananas, Irish and sweet potatoes, yam, cassava and sorrel,” the statement said.

The ministry said that based on preliminary data, the loss for livestock is estimated at some $30.4 million among 755 farmers.

The heaviest loss was from poultry - 414 broilers and layer birds at an estimated value of $12 million.

Another area of significant loss, the ministry said, is apiculture, with damage to 5,190 bee colonies valued at $10 million and impacting 95 farmers.

Sixty-two beef and dairy cattle valued at $6 million were also lost.

There were also losses of 359 pigs and small ruminants, valuing some $7 million.

The ministry said RADA teams have reported that due to inaccessibility of some areas, the true extent of damage is not yet known. The team is expected to continue its assessment work as soon as those areas become accessible.

Portfolio minister Floyd Green is expected to tour several of the affected areas to get a firsthand view of the impact.

“The ministry stands ready to assist the sector to return to production within the shortest time and will continue to support our farmers who continue to face risks through weather-related events of drought and floods,” the statement said.

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