Ministry of Agriculture tabulating Irma’s first bill on Barbuda

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Officials say they have yet to put a price tag on the damage to the agriculture sector in Barbuda in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Arthur Nibbs, agriculture minister, said yesterday that Ministry technicians visited the sister island to conduct a preliminary assessment of the damage. It is still too early estimate the cost of the damage.
“We are working along with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to provide a more detailed assessment. We have gone through to see what sort of damages people would have suffered regarding their crops. We want to be careful not to mislead the public,” Nibbs said.
Standing crops, the agricultural stations, a 250-acre coconut plantation, agricultural equipment and machinery were damaged. Officials say that the livestock subsector was affected with losses of small and large animals as well as shelter facilities.
During the passage of the storm, many fishing boats, gear and other equipment were lost or destroyed. Roads, electrical, communications and water systems were also damaged.
“Our agricultural sector suffered a serious blow, food is scarce, and that has an impact on our food security in Antigua,” the Minister said.
Antigua imports a considerable amount of ground provision and other commodities from Dominica.
Importers have turned to alternative sources to make up the shortfall.

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