South Albion farmer Everold Bowen is still tallying his losses after recent weeks of heavy rain battered 15 acres of farmland under cultivation, destroying his plans to export produce to the United Kingdom and Canada any time soon.
His face was a canvas of despair as state officials in rain-ravaged St Thomas toured his mango, okra and soursop farm on Friday, November 13.
Bowen and other farmers and residents have been on edge in an active rainy season that has caused flood damage of around $8 billion to roads, bridges, and fields.
Bowen put his preliminary losses at $8 million since the rains started late October, but said the scale of the destruction could surpass that mark. Tropical storms Zeta and Eta both veered wide of Jamaica but the outer bands of the weather systems caused devastation nationwide, triggering landslides and mass flooding. Two persons died in a land slippage in the eastern Jamaica community of Shooters Hill.
Bowen has appealed to St Thomas Western Member of Parliament James Robertson and Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Floyd Green, who both toured St Thomas farms recently, to organise for a channel to be cut to prevent a recurrence of his flood woes. That help hasn’t come as yet, he told The Gleaner earlier this week.
Another threat has emerged with the wet weather: Crocodiles have invaded Bowen’s farm and residents’ backyards.