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Farmers are receiving deserved attention post Tomas says agriculture minister

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Contact: Shannon Lebourne


Wednesday April 27, 2011 – The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries and Forestry is reporting that it has successfully completed phases one and two of its Agriculture Recovery Programme, costing in excess of EC$4.5 million.


The programme was initiated to provide assistance to farmers following hurricane Tomas which devastated the Agricultural Sector.


Agriculture Minister Honourable Ezekiel Joseph says the Ministry has budgeted several millions more which it intends to expend between now and June 2011in the third phase of the Agriculture Recovery Programme otherwise called the long terms assistance programme.


“In the long term phase of the Agriculture Recovery Programme we shall give support to our livestock farmers,our fishers and we will continue to assist our farmers with regards to improvements to their farm roads,in fact we estimate that improvement to farm roads will cost approximately EC$8.5 million.”


In addition to farm roads the Agriculture sector received extensive damage from Hurricane Tomas resulting in 16.0 and 2.3 percent declines in the sale of locally grown fruit and vegetables to hotels and supermarkets.


Minister Joseph says government remains committed to working with its various partners both locally and internationally to transforming the Agricultural Sector in order to guarantee sustainable development.


"There is a Technical Cooperation Programme with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to provide assistance to our farmers. Through this organization,  we are targeting two areas which include livestock farming. We intend to give farmers support with regard to breeding stock; we will also see the importation of new blood lines for small ruminants. We will also invest in the reintroduction of artificial insemination, improvements of our storage banks,  and train our farmers with regard to the the requisite international agreements to ensure that we produce wholesome products.”


Under the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme, farmers will also receive support with seeds and inputs for vegetable production.


Funding will also be allocated to strengthen the capacity of agriculture stakeholders in disaster risk management.

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