JAM | Dec 7, 2023

Jamaicans urged to brace for food disruptions

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
A merchandiser re-stocks the fresh vegetable section of the Hope Road branch of Brooklyn Supermarket in St Andrew, Jamaica. (Photo: Facebook)

The recent heavy rains triggered by Potential Tropical Cyclone 22 are expected to disrupt domestic food supplies, particularly for vegetables.

Agriculture Minister Floyd Green, during his remarks in Parliament on Tuesday, shared that 410 hectares of crops, including vegetables, fruits, and condiments, were lost due to the weather condition. Livestock losses included 160,500 broilers, 1,460 layers, 70 pigs, 34 sheep, and 47 goats.

The parishes most affected include Kingston and St. Andrew, St Catherine, and St Thomas.

“In the short term, we anticipate disruptions to our food supplies, especially on our vegetable lines. The reality is that our vegetable farmers started the year in drought and would have finished the year in extensive floods,” Green said.

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Floyd Green. (File photo)

“As such, we do expect that there would be a downturn in supply, which often gives rise to an increase in prices. The aftermath of this disaster has also delayed land preparation and replanting by up to three weeks in the affected areas, exacerbating the challenges faced by our farmers,” he added.

There has also been a significant impact on infrastructure, including farm roads, especially in St. Thomas and East Rural St. Andrew. Irrigation systems for farmers in these communities were also impacted.

Greens shared that the total losses experienced in the sector amount to $274 million. The Government has allocated J$157 million to assist farmers recover.


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