Farmers lose millions of rupees in crop damage to heavy rains


11-November-2011

Damaged pig sty at James Zialor's farm at Val D'AndorreLarge plantations of cabbage, eggplant, tomatoes, beans, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, pumpkin, cucumbers and other vegetables were completely ruined after heavy rains and flooding during the weekend of October 30.

Apart from flooding, farmers also reported damage to their farm infrastructure such as pig sties.

Eleven farmers from the north Mahe region and nine from the south reported damage on their farm following the heavy rains. But farmers in the south were the most affected.

Agriculture officials from the Seychelles Agricultural Agency have visited the farmers to assess the damage they suffered and the farmers have also brought their concerns to their district administrations seeking some form of help but until now nothing has been forthcoming. 

The farmers are struggling to recover from the disaster and cover the costs of the damage.
With so many vegetables -- some almost ready to be harvested -- ruined, this has caused the prices on the market to rise considerably.

This week at Victoria Market tomatoes were selling at R40 a kilo, Chinese cabbage R20 Marc Mothe's crops were washed awayapiece, pumpkin R40 a kilo or R20 a small slice while lettuce was between R15 and R20 apiece.

Most of the affected farmers have reported losses from R1 million and above.

Jacques Matombe, one of five farmers from Anse Royale who were severely affected, said it will take several months before he will be able to produce enough variety of seedlings to transplant on the vast area of ruined vegetable beds.
“It takes time and it requires a lot of hard work,” said Mr Matombe.

He noted that the cost of the damage is very high, on top of the fact that workers have to be paid, fertilisers and seeds have to be bought and other farm expenses met.

“With the rainy season just beginning I only pray that we will only get the normal rainfall and no more excessive flooding because if that happens, I will be doomed,” he said.

While farmers in the low-lying areas suffered from flooding, those higher up like Marc Mothe at Val D’Andorre, had parts of their plantation washed away altogether.

Jacques Matombe inspecting the damage after water has receded

The assistant director of the Extension Services at Grand Anse, José Guerreiro, said this week the damage suffered by farmers around the country are overwhelming and the effects of their loss will be felt in the coming weeks as fresh vegetables on the local market become more expensive and harder to come by.

A ruined cabbage plantation at Jose Pool's farm at Anse Royale

M-A.L.

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