MPs Pledge J$1.5 million
Minister The Honourable Floyd Green and MP for the affected area burnt and Minister Without Portfolio in the Agricultural Ministry Hon JC Hutchinson have pledged a total of J$1.5 million so far to assist with recovery of farms affected by fire.
Tragedy struck recently when fire of unknown origin scorched the very arable lands in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica W.I. some 47 farmers are believed to have been displaced by the fire. An estimated 200 acres went up in flames. It is believed that the drought conditions had helped to fan the flames.
There have been fears that prices and availability of food crops could be affected by the fire. There was an assurance that other farms not so affected could save the day. Minister Hutchinson said in an interview monitored by Vision that “A small amount of importation may have to be done to ease with any possible shortages” the minister stressed.
We sympathize with the losses incurred and are heartened by the prompt response of the government officials and the Rural Agricultural Authority (RADA) which offers extension services to the farmers.
The fate of farm workers affected who are employed to these farms was not immediately known.
Bread Basket Parish
This area is commonly referred to as the bread basket Parish of Jamaica. It is this area that crops like escallion, onions, sweet pepper, melons, cantelope, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams and other crops are reaped. Despite the low water supply which has forced the farmers there to be resilient. They resort to drip irrigation and to the purchasing of water delivered by trucks. Yet they produce about 60 percent of condiments to feed the nation and some are exported overseas.
We will continue to monitor this tragedy and its resolution.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is SIC for Vision Newspaper Canada.