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Sep 17, 2015

Is Government Taking Drought Crisis Seriously?

Jose Mai

The drought was first reported as a crisis in August, and it has very perceptibly worsened. In fact, Mai today classified the drought as a disaster, and claims that just like any disaster there must be a government response. According to Mai, while G.O.B. cannot be held accountable for nature, it is completely culpable for a lack of vision and a lack of any response.

 

Jose Mai, Agronomist

“Every country must have what you call a national disaster plan. We have disasters when you have too much rainfall and floods, and we have disasters when there is a drought like this. The question is what is government’s plan for such a disaster? What is the disaster plan? NEMO functions only when there is rain and flooding, or does is function when there is a drought? What is their role? We have regional alerts, meteorological alerts in the Caribbean. We have been warned that it is coming. What are the policies that government puts in place to mitigate this type of disaster? Countries have been telling us that they are experiencing the same thing but they have policies in place. What are the policies in place? What’s the banking policy? What are the fiscal incentives for farmers to produce to kickstart production? What is the analysis on crop insurance? Is it feasible? Is it not? What will the government do to alleviate this situation? We’ve already heard the farmers. I can’t expect the Prime Minister to go into his pocket and take out money and give the farmers. That’s not what they are expecting. But there must be something in place that will help the farmers to alleviate the situation. Now what is government planning? We have heard nothing from them since this story aired a month and a half ago. We’ve heard nothing from them. We had three hundred million dollars in Petrocaribe funds. How much of that was channelled to the agro-productive sector?”

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