Information Minister Senator Burchell Whiteman, speaking to journalists at yesterday's (June 25) post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said that Agriculture Minister, Roger Clarke, had indicated that the move was intended to keep domestic crop purchases within bounds to avoid any negative impact on the country's inflation rate.
Minister Whiteman said a review of the post hurricane situation had shown that the impact on domestic agriculture has been significant, especially in the bread-basket areas of South St. Elizabeth and South Manchester.
He said Minister Clarke had further indicated, that through government funded-initiatives and projects, which were being pursued with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), medium and long term measures are being taken to protect the local agricultural sector, particularly the local domestic agricultural sector.
The Information Minister noted however, that this was not to include the major external crops such as banana, coffee and sugar.
In the meantime, he said the National Works Agency and the Transport and Works Ministry were continuing to focus on ensuring that there was access to communities, which might have been cut off, as well as dealing with the safety of the roads and rehabilitation efforts.
Preliminary estimates released by the Planning Institute of Jamaica has placed the damage from Hurricane Dennis $1.928 billion, with $1.1 billion for infrastructure and the remainder for agriculture and other impacted areas.
Estimates for the damage done by Hurricane Emily, which affected the island on July 16, are not yet complete.