Agricultural sector not severely affected by recent heavy rains - Shaw

Audley Shaw
Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw says the country's agricultural sector suffered comparatively minor damage during last week's heavy rains.
In a statement to the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Shaw said more than 1,200 farmers were affected and an estimated 1,520 tons of produce lost. 
The loss is estimated at a value of $76.5 million. This is much less than the $800 million lost at the same time last year or the $300 million in losses which were incurred in November and December 2017, Mr. Shaw noted. 
St. Andrew, Clarendon, St. Ann, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Westmoreland were the most affected parishes. 
Mr. Shaw said the government will be offering assistance to affected small farmers.
However, he said there is concern that the recent flooding could expose some crops, such as Irish potato, to fungal and bacterial diseases. 
"The House will recall the steady progress the country has been made in the production of Irish potatoes, with over 90 per cent self proficiency last year. In order to maintain this, we will move to provide farmers with the chemicals they need to stave of the leaf blight disease that has arisen and which would seriously affect the output in the middle of the potato season," the minister outlined.  

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