Fires in north St. Elizabeth set back cane farmers

Vando Palmer, a cane farmer in Elim, St. Elizabeth
Fires this week caused significant losses for cane farmers in north St. Elizabeth.
The fires, which raged for two days in Braes River, Elim and Barton Isle, have been extinguished.
It is reported that the fires destroyed more than 5,000 tonnes of cane.
Speaking with Radio Jamaica News on Friday, cane farmer in Elim, Vando Palmer, said his colleagues do not believe the fires were illicitly set.
He said the fire in Elim was started by boys clearing a playing field, however, the fire spread to a nearby cane field. 
He lost 22 acres of cane.
Mr. Palmer said, for the most part, the cane from the three locations were ready for reaping.
However, crop season for Appleton Estates, to which the farmers supply cane, does not open until next month.
He said the Frome Sugar Factory in Westmoreland has stepped in to receive the cane that can be salvaged. 
Mr. Palmer expressed dissatisfaction with the response of firefighters.
He claims they did not assist in extinguishing the fire in Elim, but instead contended that they did not want to risk driving their trucks in the cane field.   
He is appealing for people not to light fires at this time due to dry and windy conditions.
Fire affects pine crops
Meanwhile, several pineapple farmers in Pisgah, Elizabeth lost more than 100 acres of pine following a bush fire on Thursday, which started about 1 p.m.
It's reported that a farmer was using the slash and burn method to clear land, when the fire spread.

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