A National Validation Assessment of farmers on the island commenced last week by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Agricultural Consultant in Ministry of Agriculture Kervin Stephenson said this validation exercise will assist the ministry in creating a farmers database.
“After hurricane Maria we attempted to get information from farmers but based on limited access in terms of a lot of farms were not accessible, we had to basically use farmers’ information as is,” he explained.
Stephenson added that right now they are in a better position to verify the information obtained after the hurricane and to determine the type of assistance needed by each farmer.
A main reason for this assessment he said is to determine which farmers received assistance following Hurricane Maria.
“We know that there are some farmers who have received no type of assistance at all, either they were out of state, out of island, or they filled out the information too late; so we’re hoping to reach those farmers who were not reachable at the time.”
Another important reason for this assessment is to assist farmers who still have no access to their farms.
Access cut off he said “either because of limited bridges or crosses not being rehabilitated or restored or landslides preventing access to farms; so we still have a number of challenges why farmers have not accessed their farms and we need to see exactly what type of assistance is necessary.”
Stephenson added that it is also important that the ministry find out the demographic of the farming population in order to know precisely what type of intervention is necessary and the type of impact it will have.