Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jamaica needs a disaster budget for agriculture

Dennis Morrison in the Daily Gleaner (Jamaica): …Jamaican farmers know too well how weather patterns have become extreme in the past two decades. Between severe drought, as we experienced in 1997, and almost an entire decade-long string of disastrous flooding and hurricanes, they experienced crippling damage, as in the case of the banana industry. Hurricane threats and near misses caused major flooding in 1998, 2002, and 2005, with more direct hits in 2004, 2007 and 2008. In fact, weather-related disruptions resulted in a more than 20 per cent decline in agricultural output in the 2002-2008 period, coming after farmers lost 15 per cent of their output from the 1997 drought alone.

…Plans for the revitalisation of the agricultural sector must take into account that exaggerated weather-related disruptions are likely to occur with increasing frequency. Policy interventions cannot, therefore, be limited to financing, distribution and marketing, tax incentives, and land distribution. The problems related to extreme weather require that there be a fundamental re-examination of crop selection, zoning, farm practices, drainage and irrigation infrastructure.

Infrastructure development, however, requires long-term, patient capital, which only the public sector will provide. So this aspect of an emergency-development programme for agriculture will have to rely heavily on state resources.

…A year ago, Mr Badrul Haque, an official of the World Bank, noted that Jamaica had suffered hurricane-related losses in 2007 and 2008 of over US$1.2 billion, and remarked that it is the country most exposed to multiple hazards. Because of the severity of the global recession, interest rates of international development banks are at their lowest levels ever, and they have been provided with vastly increased loan funds. An emergency-development programme for agriculture should be at the top of the list of programmes for which financing at the current low interest rate should be sought from these institutions.

1 comment:

Mobile said...

Due to heavey monsoon rains in Pakistan, about half of the Pakistan is under flood. Millions

of people need help. They have no food and shelter. Please create awareness and try to help

these needy people. You can give your suggestions to us at , your

little help can save a life.

A message from , we request all the charity organization in the

world to come in Pakistan and help in this hour of need.