Tuesday, 16th July 2024

Jamaica's food security at risk as Hurricane Beryl ravages agriculture sector

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there has been reports of significant damage to several facilities as well as agricultural projects across the island which also includes the Grace Foods Agro-processors facility in St Elizabeth.

Tuesday, 9th July 2024

As Jamaica is still reeling from the impacts left by Category 4 Hurricane Beryl, the island’s agricultural sector has taken a significant hit which could spark food shortages. 

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there has been reports of significant damage to several facilities as well as agricultural projects across the island which also includes the Grace Foods Agro-processors facility in St Elizabeth, leading to its closure following extensive damage of infrastructure. 

An official statement by the Ministry stated that the area of St Elizabeth is still being assessed but communication issues have delayed the information relay. 

It further added that the solar system sustained damage of Essex Valley Agriculture Development Project with around 3 percent of the solar panels being impacts and fencing and light poles being down. 

The President of the St James branch of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, Glendon Harris, has noted that based on videos of devastation he has seen across St Elizaeth and the neighbouring area Manchester, which is slowing emerging as a premier food producing area, there is a possibility of a shortage of certain food items. 

He outlined that the island is going to witness a shortage of some of the basic food items as several greenhouses have been destroyed and the overall picture does not look good for this particular sector. 

He also urged the government to move quickly to asses this sector, particularly in the St Elizabeth-Manchester region, which is primary is the country’s food security. 

It is to be noted that St Elizabeth is the known breadbasket and Manchester is close behind it so based on the hit which Jamaica has taken recently, it is going to impact the ready food for the market across the nation.

In addition to this, Harris has also called upon the farmers in St Thomas and St Mary to step up their game in order to help tackle the fall out. These farmers have been working very well lately and even before hurricane they took all the measures to protect their farms, animals and poultry.