Roseau, Dominica: The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue and Green Economy of the Commonwealth of Dominica – Roland Royer, recently participated in an interview in which he spoke about the prevailing farm issues in the country. In the midst of his conference, the minister remembered the damage caused by Hurricane Maria and pointed out that since then, the country has regained a lot, with an increase in production and exporting, the traditional markets in the islands of the north of Dominica in particular.
He further mentioned that the government of Dominica has seen that rebound and the Hackster traders have been benefiting from that. Roland added that the investments by the government take time to be strategic and invested. He added, “As the new minister, I’m sure you’re looking to see how you can expand these markets towards the north that you speak of. We are working closely with Dexia, who is responsible for ensuring consistent markets out there. So we have what we call the Agri-Trade Committee within the Ministry of Trade.”
Furthermore, he spoke about some of the interventions made under that project. He mentioned, “The intervention, we took a multi-pronged approach when under the project to invest to ensure the sector is back on its feet. So the first intervention was a reduction of vulnerabilities and risk.”
Minister Roland Royer added that “so in 2018 to 2020, the government initially funded direct support, cash support to farmers at the value of 18.8 million, to approximately 4,000 farmers and fishers. This allows them to reach and pay for essential services and supplies required for survival. And, of course, to reduce the incidence of migration and abandonment of farms.”
While emphasising the second approach, he highlighted that it was the resumption of production. “That’s where we provided seeds, seedlings, planted material, and tools. We will distribute over 1000 farmers. During that period in livestock, we provided cheeks for boiler farms, piglets and kids for small ruminants to ensure that the stocks were there so that the farmers could go back in the production,” he was quoted saying.
Agriculture Minister Roland further added that, of course, the government supported with inputs, for example, feeds, fertilisers, and other farm tools, small equipment to encourage and production. “And lastly, I’m or the strategy I intervention made in under that program to rebound was to restore governance and infrastructure. That’s where we invested heavily,” he stated.
Furthermore, he highlighted that in the agri-stations and the agricultural offices, to make sure the technicians are comfortable and can work and be able to transfer that technology to finance, as with some things on the island, that program has come in for some criticism. “I know you’re just coming in as, but you’ve had the opportunity to assess it,” he mentioned.