Agronoticias: Agriculture News from Latin America and the Caribbean
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Caribbean

11/09/2017

The Caribbean agricultural sector has suffered serious damages from Hurricane Irma

With the storm taking its last parting blows, the Caribbean countries begin to assess the damages. Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Haiti are among the most seriously affected areas.

A man rebuilding his home in the Dominican Republic after Hurricane Irma.

The landscape of destruction is heart-wrenching in Barbuda and Anguilla, where the hurricane swallowed up approximately 70-90% of the infrastructure. St. Barts, the British and United States Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands have also suffered in its wake. Nearly 1 million people in Puerto Rico were left without electricity, 50,000 without water, and entire plantations were uprooted in the central-western part of the island. In the Bahamas, the hurricane left behind deserted beaches.

The Miami Herald reported that, despite the loss of human lives in Haiti, it cannot be compared to the extent of losses in the past with events such as Hurricane Matthew, less than 11 months ago. Agriculture has been dealt another blow, from which it will be difficult to recover. In the northern part of the country, many crops, including bananas, sweet potatoes and avocados have been completely wiped out not even a year after being replanted.

In the northwestern region of the Dominican Republic, the floods caused by the hurricane leveled off vast areas of banana and rice crops. Ángel Estévez, the Minister of Agriculture, commented that a general report on the damages will soon be made, emphasizing the importance of holding an insurance policy for many producers. 

Irma was the first category 5 hurricane to graze the shores of Cuba since 1924. Ona and a half million people had to be evacuated from the island, which experienced significant damages to its agriculture and livestock. According to Alejandro Rodríguez, Head of the Department of Defense, Security and Protection of the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG according to its acronym in Spanish), they have undergone serious damages, especially in terms of pig and poultry-related infrastructure in the areas of Holguín, Las Tunas Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Sancti Spíritus, and Villa Clara. Agriculture has also suffered losses, especially in sugar cane and banana products. “These six territories have an estimated loss of approximately 9,000 hectares of banana," Rodríguez confirmed.

Author: Agronoticias Compilation
Photo Credit: Presidencia República Dominicana (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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