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Dominica: PM Skerrit advises for innovative ideas to bring sustainability to agriculture sector

Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit calls for the opportunity to present ideas and recommendations on how the country can build a more robust value chain for food security and achieve sustainable growth in the agriculture sector. 

Roseau, Dominica: Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit calls for the opportunity to present ideas and recommendations on how the country can build a more robust value chain for food security and achieve sustainable growth in the agriculture sector. 

The Ministery of Agriculture of Dominica held a discussion on value chain stakeholders and sustainable Groth in the agriculture sector; Prime Minister Dr Rossevelt Skerrit, along with Member of Parliament of Roseau Constituency Melissa and Skerrit and Agriculture Minister Fiedal Grant, participated in the conference on Wednesday, March 17, 2022. 

While emphasizing the need for conversation between stakeholders, PM Skerrit noted that to reduce obstacles in the value chain and to facilitate access to buyers and makers, there is a need for frank conversation among all stakeholders on the current state of production and supply in Dominica. 

He said that the government have decided to target interventions in the sector to assist enterprises, to source, produce and connect to markets. These interventions are intended to enhance the business and entrepreneurship capacity of the farmers, fisheries and small agro-processors. 

“Our objective is to bring together the stakeholders in the value chain to enhance the understanding of market requirements and strengthen access to the products which make it unto our supermarket shelves, to restaurants and hotels”, underscored prime minister. 

PM Skerrit also urged farmers to increase production so that the country could match the productions to local and regional demands. 

He further outlined the aim of the government to reduce Dominica’s food import bill for goods: 

  • Identify the existing gaps between demands and supply.
  • Identify the gap between various stakeholders along the value chain.
  • Develop an action plan that clearly identifies priority actions of value chain stakeholders.
  • Create a working group to identify the priority cation agreed upon.

PM Skerrit stressed that if the country met these objectives, there would be more employment opportunities, higher incomes, and the advancement of sustainable livelihoods. 

Highlighting the situation of agriculture of Dominica, PM Skerrit affirmed: 

  • Currently, agriculture in Dominica contributes approximately $230 million to the economy, as per the figures from the Eastern Caribbean Central.

He further emphasized that the government plans to keep growing the sector to a level where it can contribute 700 million dollars to the economy by twenty-thirty. 

PM Skerrit further outlined steps to achieve the target:

  • The country needs reproductive capacity and efficiency by incentivizing more women and young people to get involved in agriculture as a full-time profession.
  • There is money to be made sector if the approach is business-like; returns on the sale of agricultural produce can range in the millions on a monthly basis.
  • There’s also the constant need for innovation in agriculture. Farmers must keep adapting to extreme climate change and weather patterns and find new ways to increase their yields from the land.
  • The government will help the farmers to improve efficiency through the application of technology to include farm automation and digitalization and other more familiar methods such as hydroponics, crop rotation and greenhouse technologies.
  • The digitalization of the local is also significant as two young Dominicans have launched this for the local venture.
  • The government will continue its support of farmers through the provision of financial support, equipment, and supplies and the construction of farm access roads.
  • A total of 22 million dollars have been contracted to improve farm access roads ib many communities across Dominica.
  • The government will take action to further penetrate the regional market and increase the sale of Dominican products to assist the islands.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit stated that the government would continue their support to farmers, such as facilitating machinery, equipment, supplies and construction. He said under $22 million grant improvements of roads in many communities across Dominica is undergoing. 

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