A beet armyworm outbreak in southern Jamaica is threatening its agriculture sector.
Rural Agricultural Development Authority's (RADA) Marina Young told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that the problem was a serious one and its impact would be severe. “We have lost, between Manchester and St. Elizabeth, about 43 percent of the acreage that could be in production now,” she said.
The availability of some produce, particularly scallion, will be scarce in the local market.
Young shared that RADA's assessment of the affected areas indicated that there had been a total loss of some 133 acres as a result of the beet armyworm outbreak, which was first observed in March. This, she states tallies a loss valued of about J$111 million.
Young added that between 83 and 85 percent of the crops destroyed by the worm were scallion. “We have to look at the immediate impact, which is loss of the crop. Scallion is a ratoon crop, and with damage to the crops, the farmers won’t have that income for weeks to come,” she said.