Worsening Drought Conditions Affect Farmers

Many farmers are considering their future in the agricultural industry given worsening drought conditions negatively affecting the agricultural sector. This occurrence along with the impact of the Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which has been felt across the country is affecting these small farmers especially those who supply produce to the tourism sector.

“The drought knock me right out, nothing to sell. Sweet Potato- the whole ah it burn down,” said Farmer, Berrick Fraser in an interview with CVM Live.

Berrick Fraser has a two-acre property where he plants cassava, plantain, yam, and banana. He says most farmers have to purchase water but for those who cannot afford it, they rely on rainfall.

“We like fi eat what we grow and grow what we eat. So the situation right now is way out ah hand because there is no rainfall.”, says another farmer, Neville Campbell. “The last time mi can remember we get little rainfall roun’ here was in December.”

They are now appealing for support to maintain their crops as losses continue to increase.

“We need some waterman because if mi did have little water even fi seh carry it come wet wet little thing and if did have a pipe – but nothing at all. We can’t buy water – how much water fi thousands of dollars a tank fi support the earth. It nah go profitable,’ said Farmer Fraser.

Farmer Campbell says, “The system behind so we nuh know wah fi do because we nah get no help with no water.”

Just recently, the Ministry of Agriculture announced a special allocation of $50 million to assist small farmers under its production incentive programme. They identified water as an issue and committed to distributing tanks and irrigation kits to assist farmers.