Over $1 Billion in Damage to Agriculture Sector

  • Preliminary estimates indicate that the island’s agricultural sector has suffered over $1Bn in damage due to the passage of Hurricane Beryl. Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green, disclosed during an assessment tour of farms in sections of St. Elizabeth on Saturday (July 6).
  • He noted that there was damage to all crop lines. “In fact, we have seen about 85% of our banana and our plantain lines go down in Portland and St. Mary, but when you come to the southern parishes, our vegetable lines and tubers such as cassava were mainly impacted.
  • We have seen a lot of damage to fruit trees – ackee, breadfruit, and unfortunately, there was significant damage to our greenhouse farmers,” he noted. Minister Green said he plans to update Parliament on Tuesday (July 9) on the extent of the damage and outline a programme of response.
  • The Minister said that some 90% of greenhouse farmers across the southern parishes of Clarendon, Manchester, and St. Elizabeth were affected, with several of them losing crops and structures.
  • Over the past year, the sector has struggled with high food prices due to drought conditions. There has been some relief in recent months as improved production has led to falling prices for produce and has supported a reduction in inflation. However, with the damage to the sector from Hurricane Beryl prices are likely to rise in the face of lower supplies.
  • This could place upward pressure on the inflation rate in the coming months, especially since the Food division carries the most significant weight within the consumer price index (CPI).

(Sources: JIS & NCBCM  Research)