The local agricultural sector has endured a very difficult year, particularly in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Tomas.

This is according to Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development, Dr. David Estwick, who said Tomas, coupled with periods of severe drought and flooding, posed serious challenges for the industry.

Speaking at the Barbados Agricultural Society’s Annual General Assembly at the Grand Barbados Beach Resort last Saturday, he revealed that the damage assessment in the aftermath of Tomas indicated that over 230 farmers were affected, experiencing losses in crops, livestock as well as structural damage.

He estimated the impact of the damage to be in the region of some nine million dollars, adding that it would take some time for the sector to fully recover.

Dr. Estwick added that his Ministry would assist farmers as best they could and offered some advice to them.

"There already exists a Disaster Rehabilitation Fund, under the auspices of the Agricultural Development Fund, to which you can make application for assistance to allow you to restore production in the shortest possible time," the Agriculture Minister explained.

Dr. Estwick stressed that despite these setbacks, the sector was a significant contributor to the national economy and was a viable means for Barbadians to sustain themselves and their families through challenging economic times.??

Author: Andr?? Skeete

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