Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Big crop losses


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Farmers have been left with flooded fields, damaged crops and profits washed down the drain after heavy rains over the past few weeks.
From St Lucy to St Philip, tonnes of onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and watermelons lay destroyed in the fields as some farmers faced financial crisis and bleak futures.
Freddy Gale, of Gale’s Agro Products in Mangrove, St Philip, told the WEEKEND?NATION that about a tenth of the 20 tonnes of onions drying in the fields were either washed away or destroyed, leaving them thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Yesterday evening workers were busily trying to harvest part of the remaining crop before further rains set in.
Sugar cane harvesting on some plantations has been on standstill for more than a week.
In St Lucy at the Spring Hall Land Lease Project, one farmer there reported he had lost 80 to 90 per cent of his crops in the past few weeks as a result of flooding and spoilage. He said his loss ran into “thousands and thousands of dollars”.
Chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS), James Paul, confirmed yesterday evening that vegetable and food crop farmers in particular were feeling the full effects of the foul, unseasonal weather.
He urged all those who had suffered damage to report it to the Ministry of Agriculture “so it can be aware of any flood damage”.
Paul could not say if the losses would result in shortages or price increases for products, but stressed that if the rains continued, the situation would become more dire.
“This is the time when farmers do very well with crops, so it [the weather] is not something they are looking forward to.”
Paul said the BAS was in discussion with a number of insurers on the long-standing issue of crop insurance.
“The thing is that it [insurance] has to be financed. In countries where it is in place, the government usually has to be involved by putting up some of the funds.”


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