Dr. Reginald Thomas explains aspects of the project on Tuesday

Over 4,000 farmers and fishers are expected to benefit from an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) World Bank project which aims to put systems in place to ensure their livelihood is protected.

A one-day stakeholder’s workshop on the ESMF’s Dominica Emergency Agricultural and Livelihoods Climate Resilience Project was held at the Prevo Cinemall on Tuesday.

“The reason for this is the entire stakeholder group understands what the project is about, understand the benefits to them and to understand as well how they can attract the support to their enterprises, to their organization,” Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries Dr. Reginald Thomas said in introducing the project.

According to him, the project is divided into three major components, the first being restoring high capacity agriculture.

“The component in that would be the restoration of high priority agriculture and rural infrastructure, reestablishing and recapitalizing of production capacity,” Dr. Thomas explained. “That component is US$7.1-million.”

Dr. Thomas stated further that the second component of the project amounts to $US20-million.

“We will see sustainable fisheries and livestock development,” he said. “Fisheries suffered significantly in terms of the number of boats that were destroyed, the engines that went away, the fisheries infrastructure…we will see interventions in that area. You will also see some intervention in terms of sustainable forestry management and that will involve as well restoration of the forestry infrastructure…”

Dr. Thomas indicated that for the country to rebuild its agriculture, the redevelopment of forestry is very important.

“Don’t ever underestimate the impact of forestry management in maintaining the environment that we enjoy,” he remarked.

He said if the forest isn’t managed properly then everything else will be destroyed, “including us.”

Dr. Thomas stated that the third component of the project will be capacity building.

“We will all agree that there are capacity needs within our country, among our technical staff,” he stated.

He said the government will seek to increase the capacity of its officers, farmers and farm organizations to be able to implement the programme to become more productive at the farm level.

The capacity building aspect of the project amounts to $US3.5-million.

According to him, the project is primarily looking at providing input support and it will be done in a manner where there is co-financing by beneficiaries since there is the need to ensure that there is equity in the distribution resources.

He went on to say that in the past extension officers used to go out to farmers but the World Bank project is a bit different.

“The World Bank interventions are slightly different,” Dr. Thomas noted. “You will see from the first programme, farmers, fishers had to register, you had to come to us.”

He explained that transparency is the main reason for the difference.