Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer
The extended dry spell affecting Jamaica has severely impacted the availability of much of the locally grown produce across the island. Fruits such as oranges, mangoes and apples that would normally be in season at this time are extremely scarce. This scarcity has also driven up the prices for Irish potatoes, sweet peppers and yam in the May Pen Market. And the prices are expected to escalate even more as the drought heightens.
Leopold Maye has been farming in the hills of north central Clarendon for many years. He has a farm on his property where he grows a mixture of crops for sale as well as for personal use. He is at his wits end with the severe impact of the drought.
"Everything short, every God Almighty crop short at this time. We no have no breadfruit, no mango, and yam cyaa get. Every crop short," Maye exclaimed.
With concern written across his face, he added, "The drought has seriously affected the farmers, especially those up here (Summerfield). We have no water because there hasn't been any rain in a long while and the Rio Minho is almost dried up and the little water in the Thomas River, people use for domestic purposes, so we have no water to water the crops."
He also predicted that every crop will be short come December.
"If we have no water to plant now, then we will have nothing to eat in the next three to four months," he said.
Usually, around the festive season, there are gungo peas, sorrel and red peas, but Maye said it is highly unlikely there will be much, if any at all, of those crops.
"What is not short now will be short in a matter of weeks if we don't get rain," he warned.