An islandwide survey by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) to determine the full extent of the damage to crops and livestock is ongoing and won’t be known for some time, as the island continues to be affected by heavy rains. However, already the JAS is projecting a gloomy outlook for the Christmas season for almost every crop, with sorrel, the traditional Yuletide drink, likely to be in short supply.
First Vice-President of the JAS, Denton Alvaranga, told The Gleaner that early indications are that vegetables, condiments and ground provisions have all been badly affected. In addition, the consistently wet conditions are likely to provide ideal breeding conditions for pests and diseases.
The JAS parish officers have been collaborating with extension officers from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and other agencies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, to advise farmers on clearing their fields in preparation for replanting as soon as possible. However, with the continuing rains, the digging of drains to take off the excess water is the only thing most of them can do for now.