Dorian Etienne

A one-day Entomological Risk Management workshop for small coconut producers and other producer groups in the Caribbean got underway at the Newtown Primary School on Wednesday.

The workshop is being hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the International Trade Center, the European Union (EU) and the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.

“All of us who were in Dominica on the weekend, we had a scare when Beryl threatened to pour waters on us or lash us with some winds,” Officer in Charge at the Dominica Unit of CARDI, Dorian Etienne, said while addressing the ceremony. “We saw persons taking action and that is because we realize how vulnerable we are.”

He continued, “In agriculture we are just as vulnerable, the elements, the wind, the rain and pests, it makes us see how vulnerable agricultural activities is.”

Etienne said the workshop is being held today to try to address some aspects of that vulnerability.

He explained that for the past four (4) years CARDI has been implementing an EU-financed regional coconut project named Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean and during that capacities had been built in a number of areas.

“Today we are going to build capacity in risk mitigation…it was part of the project from inception,” Etienne stated, pointing out that a meeting held with the Ministry of Agriculture earlier Wednesday emphasized the need for mitigation.

“The need to manage, the aspects of agriculture that pose very serious risks for us,” he stated.” This workshop is designed to address that.”

He said, while it’s true that the older trees were toppled, but there are quite a number of small plantings about one acre, 2 acres of coconuts about 2 to 2 and a half years and the level of infestation of pests is quite alarming, “so the workshop is very timely.”

“We have coconuts, they were not so much affected because they are young,” Etienne noted.

He noted further that farmers, extension officers, persons from plant quarantine are all very important in helping to reduce that vulnerable area in agriculture production.