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Drought triggers significant crop yield declines

Published:Tuesday | July 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer

Farmers in north Clarendon say they have felt the full effect of the drought that has been affecting the island over the past several months.

According to the farmers, they have no water for their crops and, as a result, the yields have declined significantly.

Errol Cole, who has been a farmer for as long as he can remember, claimed the current drought is the worst he has ever seen.

"My farm has never been affected this bad. I have no water to water the field, so the food start to dry up. The yam vines falling off the sticks and the potatoes cyaa dig because the earth tough," he lamented.

"The spoiled food from the farm mi a use feed mi animals now. The crops not coming to perfection, so mi cyaa sell dat to people, mi affi jus tek it feed the pigs."

He said he depended entirely on rainfall to water his farm and it has been a while since there was any.

Cole said the agriculture ministry might need to import produce because local farmers cannot supply the demand of the people.

"Right now we have no choice, so the minister just have to do what him have to."

While admitting that such a move would have an negative effect on the food import bill, Cole conceded that he could see no feasible alternative for the short term.