STATEMENT FOR THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY BY THE DEPUTY PREMIER AND MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND LABOUR
DR. THE HONOURABLE KEDRICK D. PICKERING
ON AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES
JULY 18th 2018
Madame Speaker, I rise to provide an update on the state of the combined fishing and farming industry. Following a series of public consultations that the Premier and his team conducted after the hurricanes, a number of issues were identified in the fishing and farming communities.
Madame Speaker, the assessment conducted by the Conservation and Fisheries Department uncovered about seventy-eight (78) fishermen who suffered losses ranging from the loss of fishing pots to the loss of their fishing vessels. The monetized losses range from just a couple thousands of dollars, in the case of fish pots, to approximately seventy-thousand ($70K) dollars, in the case of a vessel; the total value of these losses adds up to approximately three million ($3M) dollars. A few of our fishermen had started entering the sport fishing sector of the industry but has now, unfortunately, suffered a major set-back as a result of the loss of their vessels in the devastating hurricanes of last year. This sector of the industry is developing rapidly as the Territory is now home to five tournaments each year.
Madame Speaker, the farming sector was also severely impacted and according to the assessment conducted by the Department of Agriculture, this sector suffered a combined loss of approximately ten million ($10M) dollars. There were about one hundred and twenty-six (126) farmers assessed who suffered losses in the areas of crops, livestock, and poultry; there were also major losses to the sector’s infrastructure. Within the next few weeks the Department of Agriculture will be informing the farming community of a variety of fruit trees that will be made available at minimal cost.
Madame Speaker, as noted earlier, the entire Territory suffered greatly; therefore, the available funds needed to be spread across many areas to jump start the recovery efforts. The combined industry of agriculture and fisheries was allotted three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) to assist the farmers and fishermen. After much deliberations and considerations from the team in both departments, we have concluded that the best way to help the most farmers and fishermen, given the available budget, is to make available supplies such as water tanks, fencing posts, fencing wire and other farm supplies such as ground cover etc. for the farmers and fish pot wire, hooks, ropes, lines etc. for the fishermen.
Madame Speaker, the rebuild will not be easy, generally speaking, but for these very fragile sectors of our economy which does not yet carry insurance, it might prove to be extremely challenging. That said, we will continue to explore all available opportunities as we not only rebuild but grow this sector of our economy.