As the United States picks up the pieces after Hurricane Sandy’s wrath today, there’s a growing concern about the long-term effects on some of the nation’s largest food crops. While preparations for the storm were just getting underway in the Northeast, Hurricane Sandy swept through the Southern Hemisphere’s Caribbean islands in full force, bringing viciously strong winds and rainfall that destroyed homes, crops, and many lives.
Hundreds of thousands in the Caribbean are left without homes or food, and while the United States deals with similar, although not quite as devastating, circumstances, the world may face the impact of Hurricane Sandy in weeks to come, as many Caribbean government officials have expressed concern for their agricultural economy, both commercial and subsistence farming.
In Haiti, the government was already bracing itself for civilian unrest due to the rising food costs, which were worsened when Hurricane Isaac destroyed a large amount of the nation’s crops earlier in 2012. Now, in Sandy’s wake, the majority of Haiti’s crops have been destroyed, creating possible food shortages and driving food costs even higher.
Along with Haiti, Cuba also experienced a large amount of damage to their coffee crops from Hurricane Sandy, destroying 20 to 30 percent of coffee farms. With the peak of the coffee season in October and November, Cuba will experience a major setback in their production of coffee crops, and will also suffer from the effects of damages to many renovations that were taking place on older plantations. In Jamaica, Hurricane Sandy has affected more than 11,000 farmers, with the biggest impact on banana crops. Several farmers in the St. Mary parish have claimed that nearly 100 percent of their banana farms have been destroyed, estimated at $1.5 million.
Millions are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and are faced with problems as they try to find food, shelter, and electricity, but as the weeks pass, we may see a broader effect on our food crops and their cost.
Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce