Agriculture sector faced ‘significant battering’ from Beryl – Green

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Floyd Green, has assured local farmers that the Government stands ready to assist them following the passage of Hurricane Beryl.

The assurance came following an admission by the minister that preliminary checks so far have revealed that the agricultural sector suffered a significant battering from the weather system.

President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Lenworth Fulton, told reporters on Thursday that there has been extensive damage reported to banana and plantain crops in St Mary and St Thomas.

He also reported damages to cantaloupe, carrots and melons in St Elizabeth, Clarendon and St Catherine.

In addition, many chicken farmers lost their birds during the hurricane.

Amid those findings from JAS, Green said on Thursday following a tour of St Elizabeth, that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is continuing to conduct its preliminary assessments of damage sustained by the agriculture sector during the passage of Hurricane Beryl.

Green disclosed that the assessments will aid in determining the level of assistance the Government will provide to farmers who have been impacted.

He said the sector, particularly in the south and central parishes, “especially… St Elizabeth, Manchester and Clarendon, recorded extensive damage to all types of crops and livestock.”

Added Green: “Our chicken farmers suffered a lot of losses to their chicken houses and birds.

“Additionally, our banana and plantain farmers seem to have been extremely hard hit right across the parishes. Also, (there are) some reports from our vegetable farmers coming out of the parish of St Ann.”

Green said by early next week, a fair assessment of the damages experienced by the sector should be known.

While acknowledging that “(it’s) still early days yet,” he pointed out that “from what we have seen so far, we have really taken a significant battering in the agriculture sector.”

The minister said the days following the storm will be used to conduct visits.

“A lot of the areas are impassable, and that has created a challenge, but I think by early next week, we should have a fair assessment.

“Once we have an idea, in terms of the damage, then we will be able to indicate the support that will be provided going forward,” Green declared.

He reiterated the Government’s support to assist the island’s farmers.

“I know that our farmers have been really hard hit, and they have gone through a series of challenges, but I want to assure them that the Government stands ready to assist them to ensure that they can come back on their feet as quickly as possible,” he stated.

“They know that once there is something of this nature, that we are ready, we are mobilised, and that we will help them,” Green further said.