Pintard: Initial assessment pegs Dorian impact on farming and fisheries sectors in excess of $50 million

Pintard: Initial assessment pegs Dorian impact on farming and fisheries sectors in excess of $50 million

Individual assessments still underway

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Hurricane Dorian’s toll on the Bahamian agricultural and fisheries sectors is reportedly more than $50 million, according to initial estimates.

Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister Michael Pintard told Eyewitness News that the Department of Agriculture and Marine Resources partnered with international agencies to conduct a rapid assessment in the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s impact on Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Those agencies were the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).

“We have already crunched numbers,” Pintard said.

“We know that it’s already an exposure of over $50 million. We knew that within the first week and a half based on which operations were adversely impacted. We know that most of the major agriculture operations in Abaco have been decimated and we have a good sense of what their contribution is to the sector.

Pintard said: “Similarly with regards to the fisheries processors, we understood the impact on them both in terms of the facilities as well as the product they would have had in inventory. We know that it is substantial in terms of the impact on the sector.”

Pintard explained teams will return to the affected islands to conduct more detailed assessments, targeting fishers and farmers, and also examining income.

He continued: “They wanted to look at the department itself, how the infrastructure was impacted, any equipment or vehicles etc.  Even more significantly they are looking at the sector, how were fishers and agriculturalists affected; in other words their facilities, equipment, transportation, products, plants farm animals and then also their products.

“What income loss do we expect or what have we foregone during this period, and what we expect overtime,” Pintard said.

“Out of that we determine from a governmental standpoint what is the impact on the sector as well as what funds or resources should be allocated by central government. We need to look at what support is required by the international community in order for us to address that impact on the sector.”

Farmers and fishermen are urged to contact the Department of Agriculture to provide information on the status of their farming or fishing operations.

Pintard said the information is urgently needed as we move toward rebuilding and restoration.