The Impact of Hurricane Dorian on Fruit Production in the Bahamas

Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful and terrifying concoctions.  Storms such as Katrina and Harvey continue to impact those involved many years later. Even storms whose effects didn’t reach quite as far, such as Marco, certainly are not anything to mess with.

Dorian, the most recent storm to terrorize the Caribbean, was no different.

This past September, Hurricane Dorian tore through the Bahamas. It tripped along the US’ East Coast, and finally petered out around September 8th. It was hard-hitting, with the death toll in the Bahamas being 61 as of the most recent count. Additionally, hundreds of people are missing, and thousands more affected in one way or another.

Whether it was the loss of a loved one, power outages, or the destruction of property. The impact of Hurricane Dorian will be felt for generations.

Hurricane winds against a tree.

Hurricane Dorian – The Impact On Crops

The destruction of crops and production, is a consequence many of us don’t think of. We tend to think of death, destroyed homes and families torn apart.

We know that these storms destroy the land, including its crops. This leads to lost harvests, shortages of produce and increased prices across the world. Thus causing the hurricane’s path of destruction to reach much wider than the land it struck.

In Dorian’s case, the storm didn’t just affect the Bahamas and the US’ east coast. The impact of Hurricane Dorian contributes to the availability and price of produce across the world. Especially, fruits and sugar.

The Bahamas’ Agriculture Industry

When you think of the Bahamas, your first thought is probably of gorgeous beaches, palm trees and maybe a Pina Colada. Tourism is certainly a large part of their economy. But there are several other industries vital to the islands’ success. The Bahamas also rely on banking, oil refinement, rum production and agriculture.

Agriculture is a broad industry The most important sectors within the Bahamas are livestock like cattle, poultry, dairy production, and growing crops.

With its beautiful tropical climate, the Bahamas are a perfect place to grow a variety of crops from bananas to sugar cane. The main crops produced include; grapefruits, bananas, oranges, mangoes and pineapples. These delicious fruits are thankfully available to those in colder climates like the Northern U.S.

Citrus fruits are particularly important crops in the Bahamas. Production has increased drastically since 1985. For example, the most recent numbers from 2017 show a production of 335,204 hectograms per hectare. Hectograms are units of measure that are equal to 100 grams. Hectares are units of measure that represent 2.471 acres, or 10,000 square meters.

The chart below shows the steady climb in citrus production over the past several decades.

Hurricane Storm Impact On Bahamas Citrus Fruit Yield

Hurricane Storms Impact On Bahamas Citrus Fruit Yield

In general, fruit production is a crucial part of how many Bahamians make their living. Many families have been farming certain crops for generations, knowing no other way of life.

Destruction and Its Victims

Hurricane Dorian has impacted every island of the Bahamas. Sadly tearing down homes, upending cars, taking lives, and destroying property. For countless Bahamian families, their lives have changed forever.

The land itself within the Bahamas is ruined as well.

For many farming families, the ability to take care of themselves is now gone. Imagine your entire livelihood depends on the production of one crop. That crop, is suddenly wiped away in a matter of days. The desperation and helplessness is unimaginable.

While the effects of Hurricane Dorian are still being assessed and the data is still coming in, social media allows a peek into the people affected. Bahamians have been posting pictures of what their homes look like after the storm. The reality is sobering.

Feel-good stories like the dog found alive after being trapped in rubble for weeks are nice. But they can also shift the focus away from very real and persistent problems for the victims.

These farms are destroyed.

Entire seasons’ worth of crops have been washed away and damaged beyond restoration. Hurricane Dorian’s destruction will cause produce prices to soar. An adjustment made for funding repairs and improvements to the food transportation system.

What can you do to help the people?

It’s easy to hear about a disaster, feel badly, and quickly move on. However, the lives ruined in these communities will last forever. This unfortunately, will cause a number of citizens to move away.

People dealing with the devastation of hurricanes.

The pictures and sad stories from the disaster will eventually fade from the media. The most effective way to help the victims of Dorian is to partner with a reputable charity. Do your research, and confirm that the organization you choose is trustworthy. Information about charities, where the money goes, and what they do is readily available online.

If giving money isn’t feasible, simply sharing information will help get the word out. Shining a light for those people who are in a position to give. Putting the right information in front of enough of the right people can make all the difference.

Finally, remembering the people of the Bahamas and their struggle is important. The next tragedy or exciting event will come around, grab attention, and fade away. However, the human beings that Dorian affected will suffer silently for years to come.