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Agri Ministry assists farmers affected by St Thomas and Portland fires

Published:Wednesday | June 24, 2015 | 6:48 AM
Government has started providing assistance to coffee farmers. Some 96 acres of coffee were destroyed in St Andrew, St Thomas and Portland, with another 303 acres of farmlands affected in all three parishes.

The government has started providing assistance to coffee farmers who lost their crops in the recent bush fires across several communities in rural St Andrew.

Agriculture Minister Derrick Kellier says support is also available to farmers whose banana and plantain crops were affected by the fires in other parishes, such as St Thomas and Portland.

As part of a $25 million rehabilitation project, some 20 farmers in rural St Andrew have been provided with 650-gallon water tanks, coffee seedlings and other supplies.

The project is scheduled to last for 10 months and it’s expected that over 900 seedlings per acre will be planted on farmlands that were destroyed by fire.

Agriculture Minister Derrick Kellier says with the recent heavy rains some crops have already started to recover.

He is praising the farmers for their hard work in helping to minimise the effects of the fires.

Kellier is also appealing to the farmers to practice responsible farming, warning that the burning of solid waste and bushes would only affect their livelihood.

Some 96 acres of coffee were destroyed in St Andrew, St Thomas and Portland, with another 303 acres of farmlands affected in all three parishes.

Losses have been estimated at $93 million.