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Aug 5, 2016

Agriculture Industry Devastated by Hurricane Earl

Jose Alpuche

Earl wasn’t just a storm which brought high waters, tore off roofs, damaged homes and panicked a nation. It also devastated our agriculture industry which has already been facing real challenges. But now it’s much worse. At the press conference held on Thursday, Agriculture C.E.O. Jose Alpuche explained that what he presented was a preliminary estimate done mainly through surveys rather than an on the ground damage assessment. He started with the good news – that the Corozal and Toledo Districts suffered very little agricultural damage. And then, the bad news.

 

Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“The truly bad news is that everything in between suffered losses. The areas most impacted are as Prime Minister mentioned bananas, corn and vegetable production. In the banana industry the initial assessment is that in South Stann Creek there are approximately seventy-five percent losses – in the Cowpen area sixty to seventy percent losses and in the Bladen and Swasey area just below sixty percent losses. These losses can be categorized in two general production cycles – that is those for harvest through the remainder of this year and those for harvest next year. The losses are roughly about fifty-fifty in two production cycles. The real issue that needs to be addressed beyond the fruit loss is a very critical one, and that is to determine whether we have a sufficient volume to maintain regular exports. This will need very careful study and discussion between the farmers and the marketers. This is a very substantial point because it means that even those that are still producing a perfectly good product may not be able to export, but let’s see how that goes. It requires much more careful study and discussion with the marketers and the producers.”

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