Jamaica's agriculture sector ravaged by Hurricane Beryl

Jamaica's agriculture sector ravaged by Hurricane Beryl

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Mining is reporting significant damage to several facilities and agricultural projects following the passage of Hurricane Beryl over Jamaica on Wednesday.

“Despite the challenges posed by the hurricane, the ministry remains committed to the swift recovery and support of our sectors,” the ministry said in a press release today.

“Several trees have fallen on the ministry's compound and while this had caused some disruption, staff turnout was commendable despite the adverse conditions. The ministry's main building retains power, water, and internet services. However, flooding has been reported on several floors due to water seepage through windows.”

The ministry said communication across parishes remains extremely difficult, with reports of blocked roads due to fallen trees and poles. The ministry's team has already begun clearing debris and fallen trees, working diligently to restore facilities to their original state.

The ministry is reporting that at the Bodles Research Station, one of the Citrus Budwood Houses collapsed, resulting in the loss of one of the two budwood facilities located there. Additionally, one of the parent plant houses has been damaged. The station also suffered 100 per cent damage to its commercial crops and the loss of the packing shed.

Reports from the Banana Board indicate that staff have been alerted, and officers are currently assessing crop damage, which appears to be severe in areas such as Portland and St. Mary, with damage exceeding 80 per cent.

“Bodles has reported total crop loss. One daily paid worker has tragically lost his house to a candle fire. The Banana Board office is without electricity, and while there has been minor damage to windows and plumbing, these issues are being addressed as part of the ongoing recovery efforts. Majority of the greenhouses in the major producing areas have been destroyed,” the ministry said.

“The National Irrigation Commission (NIC) reports that their water production systems were not significantly affected. However, the conveyance systems were impacted by fallen trees and branches. The area of St Elizabeth is still being assessed, but communication issues have delayed the relay of information.

“The Essex Valley Agriculture Development Project's solar system sustained damage, with approximately three per cent of the solar panels affected, and fencing and light poles down. Water production systems across the NIC operations will remain non-operational until power is restored. Detailed evaluations are ongoing, and costs will be ascribed as assessments continue.”