Participants at the seminar

A seminar on US import regulation for fresh fruits and vegetables got underway at the Garraway Hotel on Friday.

The seminar was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Harold Guiste said this seminar will seek to create procedures to regulate the exportation of goods to the United States.

“Today seminar, however, is intended to focus mainly on the establishment of procedures for export of fresh produce to the United States, port entry requirements into the United States plant quarantine issues and the processing and packaging of fresh produce designed for export,” he said

He stated that due to the increase in international travel and trade emphasis should be placed on the regulation of import and export commodities.

“It is widely acknowledged as a result of ever increasing international travel and trade considerable emphasis must be placed on the regulation of import and export commodities so as to prevent the transfer, establishment and spread of agricultural pests and disease which can adversely affect and actually hurt agriculture of the importing countries,” Guiste stated.

He noted that Dominica will endeavor to apply with all necessary protocols and requirements and to maintain good standing with its trading relations in the United States.

Guiste said this seminar will assist in strengthening Dominica’s plant health and food safety system.

“This seminar would also help Dominica by providing the tools to strengthening our plant health and food safety systems and for placing safeguards from invasive pest and pathogens for our own agricultural sector here,” he remarked.

Meantime, Director of Trade Mathan Walter has called on farmers to ensure that they adhere to international standards.

“And painfully so we have a problem my dear farmers, my dear producers, my dear hucksters we feel that when we are asked to make efforts to meet regional and international standards that the government entities requesting this from us are putting unnecessary pressures on us,” he said.

Walter added that farmers should seek to maintain quality standards as a means of reaping the benefits of the market.

“I want to tell you today that we live in a new dispensation that time is changing and if standards are not met and regulations put in place by our trading partners are not adhered to these opportunities would be just a distant and non-accessible opportunity,” said Walter.