Preliminary Estimates Show Agriculture Losses at $109m
The Ministry of Agriculture is estimating that the industry has suffered $109m in damage as a result of Tropical Storm Erika.
GIS News discussed the subject with Agriculture Director, Ricky Brumant on Tuesday September 22nd.
“We are looking at crops; livestock; infrastructure like feeder rods, farmers’ housing, sheds, storage facilities; irrigation projects, farmers’ livelihoods…It has impacted heavily all around,” he said.
It is estimated that the industry has lost $1m worth of livestock.
“Impacted heavily was cattle, small ruminants and in some instances poultry. The apiculture subsector has lost tremendously particularly on the west coast.”
Data also estimates crop damage at $14m, farm houses and other materials, $2m and $66m in infrastructural damage.
“A number of feeder roads was undermined, sections of roads are gone and the surface of a lot of roads was eaten up.
“Looking at the Milton Irrigation Project [in Castle Bruce], the pipe was removed.”
Brumant says while these figures are just preliminary and are subject to change after more in-depth assessment, the final report will include land loss since in several instances, usable land and farms were completely washed away.
While some areas suffered more damage than others, Brumant says farmers everywhere have been adversely affected.
A major issue which hinders the Ministry’s ability to fully report damages and prevents farmers from continuing business is access to farms.
“We well know that Boetica and Delices are still cut off from the rest of the island and so it is very difficult to traverse from La Plaine into those communities. There are farmers with produce and livestock there and others who want to cultivate or remove produce from those areas and they cannot do that at this time in any comfortable way,” he reported.
Despite challenges, the Ministry of Agriculture has a plan to rebuild the sector by putting farmers back to work as quickly as possible.