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Daniel: Aid coming soon for farmers

Daniel: Aid coming soon for farmers

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Officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries say that every effort is being made to have farmers back on their feet as soon as possible following the passage of Hurricane Tomas on October 30.{{more}}

At a press conference called by the Ministry on Tuesday November 9, Agriculture Minister Montgomery Daniel indicated that as early as Wednesday this week, farmers should have been receiving some sort of aid, to enable them to get their farms up and running.

“With the extent of damage that was done, farmers would want to rehabilitate and reorganize their farms…. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, in its rehabilitation programme has decided to assist in labour cost in the replanting of bananas and plantains at a cost of $400 per acre.”

“To the farmers, I want to indicate that an officer will be on your farm to verify what work that you would be doing on your farm.”

“The Ministry has come to the decision that as of Wednesday, November 10, each holding will receive two sacks of NPK fertilizer and one sack of Urea per acre.”

“Already there is an order of 16,000 sacks of NPK fertilizer, and further assistance will be given to our farmers in this regard.”

Daniel said that with assessment of farms, almost one hundred per cent complete, they are now in a position to determine which farmer is in need of what type of assistance.

Daniel said that according to their figures gathered so far, approximately 874 banana holdings, totalling 2,235.3 acres, at a cost of EC $16. 3 million, have been destroyed.

“Plantains, the number of holdings affected is 1771, at a value of $7.6 million dollars.”

“For livestock the number of holdings affected were 188; the number of animals that were lost were 4, 553, with a value of $1.13 million.”

The minister said that they were still awaiting the final information on the fruit and vegetable, as well as fishing industries and that support would also be given to these farmers as soon as the final assessments have been made in these areas.

The minister took the opportunity to urge banana farmers not to remove plants from one holding to another, in order to prevent the transfer of the Moko disease.

According to Daniel, within the next two weeks, farmers affiliated to the regional body WINCROP, will also be receiving compensation for damage.

He called on the relevant farmers to fill out the appropriate damage assessment forms and return them to the Ministry as soon as possible in order to be speedily compensated.

“Government will continue to assist our farmers from time to time; and the Ministry of Agriculture has been working with other collaborators, and they too are expected to assist us in providing aid to the farmers.”(JJ)