Recent Floods Wreak Half-billion dollar Damage to Agriculture

Last week’s flood rains have resulted in over $520-million worth of damage to the agricultural sector.

That’s according to Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson.

He says eastern parishes like St. Mary, Portland and St.Thomas were the most severely affected by the floods.

Mr. Hutchinson says the Ministry is seeking to provide seeds, fertiliser and chicken and feed to affected farmers.

He says the damage may result in a slight increase in prices of farm produce. But he says it shouldn’t warrant any imports of additional produce.

Mr. Hutchinson says he’s working on establishing what he calls an ‘agro-economic zone’ to store farm produce when they’re widely available, and releasing them in times of scarcity.

Last week’s flood rains also resulted in severe infrastructure damage across the island.

The government is yet to provide an estimate of the total damage.

However, Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie, says the cost could be more than 800-million dollars.

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Stevian Simmonds is an investigative journalist with almost 3 years of experience in radio broadcasting, production and reporting. She graduated from Caribbean School of Media and Communication in 2014 and joined Nationwide News in 2016. In 2018, she produced a special report examining the working conditions of the Bussiness Process Outsourcing Industry. She worked undercover as a call center agent for a month, revealing the lack of data protection and general security infrastructure in the industry. Her report also highlighted the poor working conditions and remuneration faced by workers in the industry. In 2018, Stevian traveled to New Delhi India where she participated in the Inaugural WHO Partners Forum benefiting from critical training related to reporting on women’s and children’s health issues.