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11,000 farmers affected by Hurricane Sandy

Sunday, October 28, 2012 | 2:19 PM    

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MINISTER of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ian Hayles, says early estimates indicate that close to 11,000 farmers across the island have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, with some 1,500 hectares of crops "totally destroyed".

“The level of devastation to the agricultural sector is going to take us a little time to get back on our feet,” he said, noting that the preliminary estimate does not include livestock.

Addressing journalists following a tour of a number of banana farms in St Mary on Friday, the State Minister said preliminary estimates show that the recent passage of Hurricane Sandy has dealt a devastating blow to the country’s agricultural sector, which could amount to more than $1 billion.

He pointed out that early estimates point to over $700 million worth of damage in the parishes of St Mary, Trelawny, St James, Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, Manchester, St Catherine and St Andrew.

A breakdown of the parishes shows significant losses for St Andrew, amounting to some $312 million; followed by St Mary at some $200 million; Trelawny, $32 million; St James, $47 million; Westmoreland, $8 million; St Elizabeth, $4 million; Manchester, $14 million; and St Catherine, $87 million.

Hayles explained that the total figure will be much more when assessments for the parishes of St Thomas, Portland, St Ann and Clarendon are completed this week.

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