The recent heavy rains have caused an estimated J$63 million in crop damage in St Elizabeth, notes Fraklin Witter, state minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining.
Following a tour of several farms and roadways in the St Elizabeth Southern constituency, which was most affected by the recent heavy rainfall on Friday (June 16), Witter pointed out that the figure was preliminary.
“After this tour, we will be better able to give a definite figure in terms of the damage.
The rain did extensive damage to a number of crops and roadways, even some of the roadways that we would have done work on as recent as a year ago. Sections of those roadways were destroyed as a result of the heavy rains,” the state minister told JIS News.
He outlined that several types of crops were hard hit by the recent inclement weather in the parish.
“Tomatoes, melons and scallion [were affected]. What we saw on the field today were mainly [those crops], and sweet pepper to a lesser extent,” the State Minister said.
Witter noted that a figure has not yet been attached to the damage of farm roads in the parish.
Some of the communities visited were Bull Savannah, Tryall, Ballards Valley, Top Hill, Comma Pen, Junction and Cheapside.
For his part, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Winston Simpson, said that while several mitigation measures have been undertaken over the years to minimise the negative impact of heavy rainfall on crops on the island, more could be done.
He added that RADA will be looking to further educate farmers on how to harness the excess water during periods of heavy rainfall.
The State Minister was accompanied on the tour by representatives from RADA, and other stakeholders.