Farmers, livestock farmers and fisher folks can now apply for financial assistance for loses by natural disasters and industrial operations.
Minister of Food Production, Devant Maharaj made the announcement earlier today during the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre in St. Ann’s.
Maharaj said that Cabinet had reviewed existing policy on flooding and natural disaster assistance, which he said was inadequate for the modern day farmer.
“The relief programme has not been adequate for damages as a result of natural disasters or industrial operations, which came about in the 1950s. With the challenges of development, that policy was reviewed in 1986,” Maharaj said.
He noted that the policy has not been reviewed since that time, until now. He explained that with the revised policy, for the first time livestock farmers can receive assistance for loss livestock during a natural disaster.
“We have expanded the assistance for farm, livestock and fisher folks to assist the farmer to recommence their operations after the disaster,” Maharaj said.
However, the Minister was quick to point out that the assistance was not a right of the farmer,”it is an option of the Ministry to be exercise case by case” saying it was a disaster assistance and not compensation.
He explained that for a farmer to be eligible, he\she must be registered with the Ministry of Food Production.
“They claim will not be entertained where the plots are in flood prone areas or forest reserve. The claim should be made within a one -week period. Animals some also have some form of identification by the Ministry,” Maharaj explained.