Dominica reiterates importance of agriculture as it rebuilds following Hurricane Maria

ROSEAU, Dominica, Oct 6, CMC – The Dominica government Friday reiterated that the agricultural sector remains ‘a  critical” aspect of the island’s re-development following the passage of Hurricane Maria late month that killed 28 people and left billions of dollars in damages.

“We have said many times since the hurricane, that agriculture is a critical component of our re-building efforts, to ensure that we can start producing food and make food available not only to our domestic markets but also to our export markets in the region,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told the daily news briefing here.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

He said people in several parts of the part of the island depend on agriculture for their livelihood, sustenance as well as income “and we need to ensure that our people can go back to work in the quickest possible time”.

Skerrit said that a loan facility in place at the Agricultural Industrial and Development (AID) Bank prior to the hurricane, targeted farmers and said ‘we shall be reviewing that financing facility…to allow it to be more robust and more nimble in its application so that those funds can get into the farms, fields and farmers as quickly as possible.

“The idea is to provide both an advance technical assistance to farmers, planting material to farmers, assisting them with the payment of farm labour , to accelerate their planting opportunities,” Skerrit said, adding that the Ministry of Agriculture will outline later on Friday ‘special initiatives” outlined by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) “which we have greatly accepted”.

Skerrit said that seedlings would be distributed to farmers “but the whole idea is to get farmers back in the fields post haste, to start with the short term crops…things that we can harvest in two to six weeks”.

He said the intention also is to have bananas and plantains available in the country within the next seven months, not only for domestic but for regional consumption.

Skerrit told reporters that his administration is in discussions with the food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), OECS, the European Union, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and other stakeholders and that the hope is ‘that very soon we shall convene a stakeholders consultation with all of our partners…specifically targeting agriculture and livestock”.

He said the government was also putting in place a national task force  for the resurgence of agriculture in Dominica” with the membership coming from “beyond our boundaries…to monitor, to assess the implementation of the strategy”

Skerrit said instruction had also been given to the Ministry of Agriculture to get the abattoir up and running and provide assistance to livestock farmers in that regard.

Skerrit said that Dominica has not been importing eggs more than 25 years and he hopes that it would remain so as the farmers move quickly to rehabilitate their farms.

“Agriculture for us, food security for us is priority number one and we will be articulating further some of the more specific interventions, specific support we will be providing to the farmers across the country,” Skerrit added.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER

ROSEAU, Dominica, Oct 6, CMC – The Dominica government Friday reiterated that the agricultural sector remains ‘a  critical” aspect of the island’s re-development following the passage of Hurricane Maria late month that killed 28 people and left billions of dollars in damages.

“We have said many times since the hurricane, that agriculture is a critical component of our re-building efforts, to ensure that we can start producing food and make food available not only to our domestic markets but also to our export markets in the region,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told the daily news briefing here.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

He said people in several parts of the part of the island depend on agriculture for their livelihood, sustenance as well as income “and we need to ensure that our people can go back to work in the quickest possible time”.

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Skerrit said that a loan facility in place at the Agricultural Industrial and Development (AID) Bank prior to the hurricane, targeted farmers and said ‘we shall be reviewing that financing facility…to allow it to be more robust and more nimble in its application so that those funds can get into the farms, fields and farmers as quickly as possible.

“The idea is to provide both an advance technical assistance to farmers, planting material to farmers, assisting them with the payment of farm labour , to accelerate their planting opportunities,” Skerrit said, adding that the Ministry of Agriculture will outline later on Friday ‘special initiatives” outlined by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) “which we have greatly accepted”.

Skerrit said that seedlings would be distributed to farmers “but the whole idea is to get farmers back in the fields post haste, to start with the short term crops…things that we can harvest in two to six weeks”.

He said the intention also is to have bananas and plantains available in the country within the next seven months, not only for domestic but for regional consumption.

Skerrit told reporters that his administration is in discussions with the food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), OECS, the European Union, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and other stakeholders and that the hope is ‘that very soon we shall convene a stakeholders consultation with all of our partners…specifically targeting agriculture and livestock”.

He said the government was also putting in place a national task force  for the resurgence of agriculture in Dominica” with the membership coming from “beyond our boundaries…to monitor, to assess the implementation of the strategy”

Skerrit said instruction had also been given to the Ministry of Agriculture to get the abattoir up and running and provide assistance to livestock farmers in that regard.

Skerrit said that Dominica has not been importing eggs more than 25 years and he hopes that it would remain so as the farmers move quickly to rehabilitate their farms.

“Agriculture for us, food security for us is priority number one and we will be articulating further some of the more specific interventions, specific support we will be providing to the farmers across the country,” Skerrit added.