Jamaica: Portland Farmers Lose $250 Million to Dennis and Emily

PORT ANTONIO, (JIS): Thursday, July 28, 2005 - The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is reporting significant damage to agriculture in the parish of Portland as a result of the passing of Hurricanes Dennis and Emily.

Estimates prepared by the organization reveal that a total of 626 hectares of crop and livestock were destroyed by the hurricanes at a cost of $250 million, with 3,500 farmers being directly affected.

Crawford Clarke, Parish Manager for the Portland Office of RADA, told JIS News that 308 hectares of banana was lost at a cost of $154 million; 210 hectares of plantains valued at $63 million; 80 hectares of ground provision costing $22 million; 18 hectares of vegetables valued at $7 million and nine hectares of condiments at a cost of $3 million.

In addition, 4,330 heads of livestock including 4,000 chickens were destroyed at a cost of $2 million and affecting 400 farmers. The fishing industry also suffered losses with 80 fish pots destroyed at a cost of $320,000. Mr. Clarke said the estimates have been submitted to the RADA Head Office in Kingston for further action.

He noted that the losses were significant, especially when viewed against the damaged caused by Hurricane Ivan, from which some farmers were still recovering.

Mr. Clarke declared however, that RADA would be working closely with the farmers to ensure a quick recovery and expressed confidence that the resilience of the farmers would ensure the survival of agriculture in the parish.