KINGSTON, Jamaica - Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke says that 6,000 farmers have received assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which lashed the island in October last year.
Clarke, in Parliament Tuesday, gave a breakdown of assistance in response to questions from Opposition Spokesperson on Agriculture, J C Hutchinson about the Hurricane Sandy relief programme for farmers.
The agriculture minister said that $27 million was spent on fertiliser, $7.5 million on land preparation, $12.8 million on seeds and $3.9 million on broiler chicks and feed. An additional $3 million is to be spent on fertiliser purchase, he added.
The fisheries sub sector, Clarke said, received $15 million to assist with recovery efforts and approximately 1,500 fish farmers and fisher folks are expected to share this benefit.
According to Clarke the European Union (EU) has agreed to contribute €100,000 ($13.5 million) in fertiliser and insecticide to affected farmers. Distribution of the materials will take place through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) parish offices.
“Approximately 1,000 farmers will benefit from this facility. This grant will be given only to legitimate registered banana and plantain farmers, who must present documentation to verify registration. The RADA/European Union Banana Support Programme will procure and distribute materials to farmers. Utilisation of material grant will be supervised by the Banana Board,” the Minister said.
He added that the Coffee Industry Board has received $39.9 million from the ministry and has engaged the Jamaica Coffee Exporters Association and the Jamaica Coffee Growers Association in the logistics for the distribution of inputs. It is expected that approximately 4,000 farmers will benefit from this initiative.
In addition $15 million has been allocated for cocoa farmers and the distribution of funds began in December 2012, Clarke said.