Government seeking help for agriculture sector

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has announced that discussions have been held with international partners to provide assistance for the recovery of the sector in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Nicole.

Among the partners from whom Dr. Tufton sought support are the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the European Union (EU) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“They have traditionally supported our initiatives in agriculture and in many instances they currently have programs that we are involved in, in promoting best practices,” said Tufton.

It’s estimated that the agriculture sector recorded J$1 billion (US$11.7 million) of the total J$11.7 billion (US$137.4 million) in losses as a result of the floods.

Tufton said the ministry has taken a decision to “reallocate, where we can, funds that exist currently for specific programs and taking advantage, where we can, of any additional funds that can be made available,” to get production going.

Tufton said the government is taking a holistic approach to the recovery process and will be collaborating with various ministries including finance and Public Service, Transport and Works “in a definitive way, to chart a course for recovery and for restoration of normality”.

Tropical Storm Nicole dumped rain between 10 to 20 inches of rainfall across the island two weeks ago, resulting in extensive flooding in most parishes.

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