This is a night­mare!

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Gareth Davis Sr Gleaner Writer

Flood­ing wipes out ba­nana farmer twice in six months

WIND­SOR, Port­land: OR THE sec­ond time in six months, farmer Fred­er­ica Ap­pleby has lost hun­dreds of fully grown bananas on the verge of har­vest­ing. This, af­ter three days of tor­ren­tial rain­fall last week, which rav­aged her farm at Wind­sor in Port­land.

Ap­pleby, who also suf­fered a heavy loss in April of this year when the Rio Grande washed through ev­ery inch of her four and half acres of farm­land, is now strug­gling to come to grips with a sec­ond straight loss from a liveli­hood in which she has in­vested heav­ily.

“This is like a night­mare,” she told The Sun­day Gleaner.

“I am yet to re­cover from the dev­as­ta­tion in April of this year and now I am fac­ing an­other catas­tro­phe. I was bank­ing heav­ily on this crop to save the day, but now I don’t even know where to turn. I have lost ap­prox­i­mately 700 fully grown ba­nana trees, which were ready for har­vest­ing in a month’s time, but now all is gone.”

Stand­ing on the farm, as far as the eyes can see, the flat­tened

FFred­er­ica Ap­pleby, a ba­nana farmer at Wind­sor in the Rio Grande Val­ley of Port­land, be­moans her loss.

ba­nana trees tell it all. Yet, amid the dev­as­ta­tion, a sole ba­nana plant cov­ered with blue plas­tic,

an in­di­ca­tion that har­vest time was just around the cor­ner, re­mains stand­ing. Flooded farm­land at Ber­ry­dale in Port­land, with the Rio Grande flow­ing in the back­ground.

Ap­pleby, who is now giv­ing se­ri­ous thought to re­lo­cat­ing, as she was be­com­ing more and more frus­trated with her backto-back losses, is not the only farmer af­fected for the sec­ond time in less than a year.

Her neigh­bour, Vin­cent Bar­rett, also lost one acre of the fully grown fruit. Both are now se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing whether to un­der­take the or­deal

of re­plant­ing or to count their losses and flee their flood­prone prop­er­ties.

Ap­pleby said, “I have been in­volved in ba­nana farm­ing for more than 20 years, but I am not even sure that I will be able to re­cover from this loss. My teenage daugh­ter cried when we woke up that morn­ing and re­alised what had tran­spired. She is pas­sion­ate about farm­ing

and this has re­ally taken a toll on her.”

Es­ti­mated cost of dam­age to agri­cul­ture pro­duce in the Rio Grande Val­ley fol­low­ing the re­cent six days of con­tin­u­ous, heavy rain­fall could run into hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars. A team from the Ru­ral Agri­cul­ture Devel­op­ment Author­ity is sched­uled to be­gin as­sess­ment of the dam­age later this week.

A wo­man walk­ing along a stretch of road­way lead­ing to a bridge at Coop­ers Hill in the Rio Grande Val­ley of Port­land in search of her five cows, which have not been seen since Wed­nes­day.

Three days of heavy rain­fall de­stroyed ap­prox­i­mately 700 fully grown ba­nana trees owned by Fred­er­ica Ap­pleby, a farmer at Wind­sor in the Rio Grande Val­ley of Port­land.

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