Trade minister Ian Douglas has announced that the government has plans in place for the export of farine on a much larger scale since it’s in high demand in countries in the region, especially Guadeloupe and Martinique.
The minister, who spoke on Kairi Fm’s Heng recently, said some small factories are being constructed in a few communities to process the farine.
“We have a small factory in Calibishie; we are doing 2 in the East, 1 in the Kalinago Territory and 1 up in the Delices area, so that we can take the raw produce, the manioc and cassava and turn it into farine…,” he said. “That is selling very well in the French department of Martinique and Guadeloupe.”
Douglas also mentioned toloma and ginger as other big sellers.
“It is in very high demand,” he stated. “Then we have the essential oils including bay oil, coconut oil [and] castor oil. These things are doing very well.”
He added, “We just have to be able to up our game to package the product properly and that is why the government is helping.”
Douglas went on to state that the government has invested in equipment for bay oil farmers, coconut oil farmers, castor oil farmers to enable them to improve the quality and the quantity of their product, “so that they can get a better price on the foreign market, especially in the French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique.”
He explained that there are a lot of farmers, for example, who are making cocoa sticks in their kitchen and do not have the capital to invest in the proper equipment.
“Instead of us having to buy the equipment for 50 to 60 of those small cocoa stick makers, we are going to construct a facility where all of them can come, grind the cocoa, turn them into cocoa sticks,” Douglas revealed.
He said The Bureau of Standards will help with the labeling.
The Trade Minister also stated that government has a contract with the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) for a container of 650 pails of passion fruit pulp to be shipped to Martinique every month.
He encourages farmers who have the available land to plant passion fruit in order to benefit from this arrangement.
“We are working with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that the production is there,” he said.
Dominica News Online (DNO) contacted Operations Manager of DEXIA Multi-Purpose Packhouse, Bristol Lawrence, who said that as part of its value-added program, the company has been shipping passion fruit pulps to the regional market where there is currently a monthly demand for 25,000 lbs.
He also encourages farmers to keep planting passion fruit.
Bristol added that from 2021-2022 July to December has been a very good year for DEXIA as it relates to sales.
“The last six months we registered a total sale of produce amounting to $1,319,092.00. The main export crop was plantains $443,353 followed by dasheen of $338,221.00,” he stated. “We have been doing fortnightly shipment of dasheen to the UK as you can see in the photo, and we have resumed shipment which will be leaving tomorrow for the UK.”
Meantime, DNO contacted Manager of the Dominica Essential Oils, Garnet Eloi, who indicated that production is ongoing, however sales are down in the regional and international markets.
“The sales of bay oil are down as we speak due to Covid-19,” he remarked. “All the markets for bay oil are closed.”
He anticipated that business will “pick-up” during the second quarter of 2022.