Jamaica: $225 million in emergency aid for agricultural sector

Prime Minster, Portia Simpson Miller, has announced that the government will be providing $225 million in emergency assistance to aid in the recovery of the agricultural sector after the passage of Hurricane Dean.

The Prime Minister, in a broadcast to the nation on (Aug. 22) on the country's recovery effort after the passage of Hurricane Dean said that "there will be an immediate allocation of $100 million for the purchase of fertilizers to be distributed free of cost under the direction of the Jamaica Agricultural Society and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority."

"An immediate $25 million grant will be allocated to the Blue Mountain coffee farmers. The (Agriculture) Ministry's $50 million fruit tree programme will be accelerated under the emergency assistance programme," she continued.

In terms of agriculture losses, the worst affected parishes are Portland, Clarendon, St. Thomas, Manchester, St. Catherine and St. Elizabeth.

Turning to conditions in the health sector, the Prime Minister informed that 17 of 23 hospitals are now offering full service, up from five yesterday. The remaining six are offering in-patient and emergency services.

"All our health centres in St. Ann, Portland, St. Mary and St. James are offering full services. In terms of public health, all the necessary preventative and vector control measures are being used to ensure the protection of our people," Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.

In relation to wards of the state, Mrs. Simpson Miller said that 2,600 children in the 62 children's homes and places of safety are safe and are receiving adequate care. "I commend the dedicated staff in these homes that are taking care of these wards of the state," she said.