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Caribbean Body Assists Dorian-Ravaged Farmers

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

A Caribbean agricultural body is providing more than $50,000 worth of inputs to help Dorian-devastated farmers recover, it was revealed yesterday.

Dr Michelle Singh, country representative for the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), said: “CARDI has been successful in securing funding for a project to assist farmers in Abaco and Grand Bahama.

“What we are doing is supplying a number of inputs like seeds, irrigation, tubes, shade cloth, plastic mulch and all of those things so that they are better able to mitigate the effects of Hurricane Dorian. We will also be - with the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources - constructing two of these suspended slatted floor systems in Abaco and Grand Bahama.

“So what we would create is a model farm where people can come and actually see the new technologies that they have adopted on their facilities.” Dr Singh said the project will be worth “in excess of $50,000” with funding provided from CARDI through international collaborations.

“IICA (Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture) also has been working on the ground and, collaboratively, a lot is being done,” she added.

Joel Lewis, the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources’ permanent secretary, said: “We have continued to provide them [farmers] with new stock. We are providing them with feed for their animals, and basically those are the two things I can think of right away in terms of this ministry.

“The farming communities were particularly devastated in terms of the loss of assets, salt intrusion on land, the loss of all but one seafood processing plant on Grand Bahama, the loss of operating capacity for our country’s biggest poultry producer, and the shut-down of dozens of farms on both islands.

“The human loss was even more devastating as many remain unaccounted for whole others lost their lives in the storm. Many have simply up and left those island,” Mr Lewis added. “Our country is in the direct path of hurricanes, which over the past ten years have become more frequent and increasingly stronger.

“The science says the frequency and strength of the storms is directly tied to the generation of harmful emissions from larger developed countries. We have no real direct input into this. We have made our position known on the international stage at various conferences around the world, as well as recently on American television with the prime minister’s interview on 60 minutes, but this alone is not enough.”

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