Dominica: 54 resilient vessels valued over EC$1M under construction for Maria beneficiaries  

A total of fifty-four (54) resilient vessels valued over EC $1 million will be handed over to beneficiaries who lost their fishing assets through the passage of Hurricane Maria in Dominica.

Dominica: 54 resilient vessels valued over EC$1M under construction for Maria beneficiaries  
Dominica: 54 resilient vessels valued over EC$1M under construction for Maria beneficiaries  

Roseau, Dominica: A total of fifty-four (54) resilient vessels valued over EC $1 million will be handed over to beneficiaries who lost their fishing assets through the passage of Hurricane Maria in Dominica. The boats will be provided by the Ministry of Agriculture under the Fisheries Component/Emergency Agriculture Livelihoods and Climate Resilient Project.

Ten local boatbuilders and assistants are given employment for the construction of the top quality 23ft and 25ft vessels. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Blue, and Green Economy stated that the workers are working effectively as they have also been trained to design resilient boats that can withstand sea and weather conditions.

Criteria to get eligible for a boat

As per the criteria, beneficiaries who are seeking to get the vessels will have to make themselves eligible by providing evidence of having been affected by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Secondly, they must be registered fishers with the Fisheries Division and thirdly, their boat should also be registered with the Fisheries Division before the hurricane.

The last requirement stated that the fisheries should be listed as a boat owner with at least a 15 ft boat before Hurricane Maria.

Fisheries Component/Emergency Agriculture Livelihoods and Climate Resilient Project

The project was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture of Dominica on August 9, 2019, through a brief ceremony in the Ministry of Finance conference rooms. Considering one of the largest investments in agriculture, the project was designed to assist farmers and fisher folk who were devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Through the project, the government is aimed at providing livelihoods to the farmers and restoring agriculture in Dominica which would be climate resilient. The project was started by the government of Dominica with financial assistance from the World Bank amounting to US$25 million following the passage of Hurricane Maria.

The DEALCRP is a five-year intervention that has four main components/phases including:

The first phase deals with the restoration of the recovery of agriculture livelihoods through the cost of some $21 million. The second phase features the restoration of key production infrastructure and institutional, livestock, and forestry which has been given a budget of US$5.2 million.

The third component is designed to manage and coordinate several aspects of the projects which will cost around $2.1 million. The last component stated that the project would provide contingency emergency response with a cost of US$125 million.

The Ministry of Agriculture of Dominica stated that the project will benefit around 4000 farmers and fisher folk as they will be given significant support in their agricultural aspects. It will include crop farmers, livestock, fishers, and canoe and boat builders.

As per the ministry, the crop farmers will have to do farming on a full-time or part-time basis and their income must be generated from the crop production. This is how they could become eligible for the project.

In addition to that, livestock farmers will have to provide legal identification and proof of land ownership or have legal documents of a lease/agreement for at least 3 years. The Fisherfolk will have to register themselves with the Fisheries Division and should have at least a 15-foot boat.

First Phase of the Project

The Ministry of Agriculture of Dominica handed over outboard engines to 108 beneficiaries under phase 1 of the project in December 2021. The Ministry purchased YAMAHA outboard motor engines at the cost of EC1,758,040, featuring (68) 50 horsepower 4-stroke boats and (40) 100 horsepower 4-stroke engines.

The outboard engines were procured by Auto Trade Ltd and phase 1 of the project is aimed at supporting farmers with the equipment.

Notably, the Ministry of Agriculture received 212 applications for engines, 76 for resilient boats and five for canoes at the close of the applications. The project will boost the agriculture sector in Dominica and enhance the income of the local farmers, fisherfolks by providing them great business and other employment opportunities with different phases.