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EC$2.8 million earmarked for agriculture

EC$2.8 million earmarked  for agriculture

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Agriculture has been allocated EC$2.8 million or 3.8 percent of the capital allocations in the supplementary estimates presented on Wednesday, and Agriculture Minister Saboto Ceasar outlined a number of areas where the sum is expected to kick start the rehabilitaton process in the sector.{{more}}

One million dollars has been allocated to reforestation, in the wake of the extensive damage during the December floods and other recent disasters. Ceasar said this amount will continue the chain saw operations and do other preliminary work while the Ministry puts together a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for the country’s forests. Assistance for this is expected to come from the governments of Canada, Norway and Guyana.

The Ministry’s industry portfolio allocation also includes a million dollars to provide some assistance to small business people who suffered losses in the floods.

There is also a Farmers’ Support programme, financed by a contribution from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to the tune of EC$800,000 (US$320,000), which will target 1,000 affected farmers. The programme will assist with inputs for replanting, including seeds and fertiliser. The FAO support will see:

  • Some 350 small scale crop farmers receive support.
  • 20,000 baby chicks and feed provided to 200 affected farmers.
  • Support for the restoration of the country’s only hatchery
  • Assistance to 100 pig farmers
  • Rehabilitation of one aquaculture pond, and technical support

Government has also shifted EC$750,000 from the $6 million Farmers’ Credit Programme announced in the 2014 budget, towards the rehabilitation effort. The credit facility itself has attracted 1,000 applications, which the Minister said are being processed as quickly as capacity allows.

More recent support has also come from the Caribbean Development Fund, which has provided US$20,000, of which $6,000 will go towards the purchase of sheep and goats, $10,000 for five bulls from Jamaica, and $4,000 to purchase pigs locally. This will support an insemination programme to help livestock farmers get back on stream.

The Kingdom of Morroco has also donated 5,499 sacks of fertiliser at a value of half a million US dollars to support the farmers.

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