The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining will be assisting farmers in South Manchester who suffered major losses during recent heavy rains.
Portfolio minister, Floyd Green, made the commitment during a tour of farmlands in areas such as Duff House and Spring Ground on Wednesday (June 14), where he saw destruction of crops and damage to infrastructure such as roads and irrigation systems.
“What we have seen is tremendous damage to the farm-road network that is in need of urgent attention, and significant loss, especially in relation to scallion, watermelon and a lot of infrastructure loss on the farms,” he said.
“We also saw a lot of irrigation, a lot of piping that has been completely destroyed. I know it will take a lot for the farmers to get back,” he noted.
The minister assured farmers that the government is committed to supporting their efforts to rebuild, through the provision of drip hoses, pipes, grass and more.
“So, we have done some preliminary estimates, [and] then come next week, I think we’ll be able to outline a programme of support for our farmers,” he said.
The minister indicated that he will also be touring areas of South St Elizabeth where farmers were similarly affected by the heavy rains.
Minister Green said the recent weather events emphasise the reality of climate change. He noted that while June traditionally marks the beginning of the rainy and hurricane seasons, there is a notable shift in weather pattern.
“The reality is that what we are seeing are shorter bursts of more intense showers, which are causing significant flooding,” he noted.
The minister said that the government is committed to supporting farmers and building a more resilient and sustainable agricultural sector.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Franklin Witter, who joined the tour, pointed out that as a native of the area, in recent years he has seen significant changes in the water flow whenever it rains.
“Therefore, I think looking at how we can put in some mitigating strategies to deal with the drainage systems is a very good idea, and to deal with the immediate response in terms of what the farmer needs,” Witter said.