Government plans to increase farine exports to the region

Packaged toloma farine by Toloma Women in Action

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.

Several boxes of dasheen, packed and ready for export

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  1. Aceejay
    January 25, 2022

    Does the government export farine?

  2. Jonathan Y St Jean
    January 25, 2022

    The minister sounds like he woke up from sleep and someone ran some information by him so he ran to the airwaves to make it sound like there is a plan in place to do something with farine. I won’t hold my hopes high on this piece of propaganda. There is a lot of substance missing in this picture. What is the size of the market niche? What are we doing exactly, processing the casava and selling it wholesale or are we adding valve in Dominca? What about the agronomy to ensure consistent quantity and quality? What arrangements for finance?
    I’m reminded that this government made disease resistant banana plants available to farmers to try to resuscitate the industry and when the fruits were ready for market the government told them that farmers were responsible for the markets, at the back end and not at the commencement. It’s better to focus on one commodity at a time and get it right than to talk about a number of products. Time to stop pipe dreams in this country.

  3. Kenny T
    January 25, 2022

    The goverment needs to look & finance logical produce & ensure the right production facilities & packaging are in place to deliver the numbers required to make these exports viable with ability to make exports worthwhile. To support this, Dominica’s road infrastructure needs attention as well as it tourism sector. Not just talking about airport & ports, we are talking about tourist locations, our beaches, our hospitality sectors, the state of our capital. These things need addressing and soon before we end up losing interest from our visitors & companies worldwide. Progress here is static and things need to change. Our PM and goverment are capable of doing this, no question so let’s get on with it NOW.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  4. Roger Burnett
    January 24, 2022

    One might ask, where are the innovative mechanical engineers, skilled both practical and theoretical, to support this initiative?

    The Board of Works engineering workshop has been closed down and mechanical engineering is given scant attention at the State College.

    As a highly qualified engineer, both in practice and design, I fight a loosing battle in attempting to introduce innovative food processing and packaging equipment suited for our needs. The feeling is that any Heath Robinson contraption will do.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
    • Pipo
      January 24, 2022

      Roger, this is a very valid and important point. Farine is a processed agricultural product and as far as I am aware must comply with EU regulations, which also apply to the French departments overseas. Both Guadeloupe and Martiniqe are part of France so these rules and regulations apply to them also and would cover such things as certified quality assurance. I know we can do this if we have the heart but I remember we had similar issues with our bananas, a non-processed item where people questioned why it was necessary to meet UK standards and the outcome is plain for all to see. I really hope that this time we do not quarrel like that and cooperate with our neighbours and not only meet but exceed their requirements.

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      • Roger Burnett
        January 25, 2022

        You are quite right Pipo.

        Apart from a few exceptions, our food processing lines, and the buildings in which they are housed, fall well below international standards.

        Part of my engineering design experience was with the UK confectioners, Rountree Mackintosh. One of their production lines extended over a quarter of a mile: from raw ingredients to the packaged end product. It worked non-stop, night and day for fifty weeks in the year.

        Marks & Spencer was a main client and they would frequently send out a team of inspectors unannounced. Their inspection began in the carpark. If there was litter on the ground, future orders were put on hold until it was put right!

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  5. Koko sticks
    January 24, 2022

    According to the female calypsonian the only thing that selling in Dominica these days is coco sticks. Farine not selling, dasheen not selling, plantain not selling nothing else selling. So Ian might as well try to export coco Sticks to the region and let those male government officials and big boys be the agents. They should even try to export those coco sticks to those female Dominican students studying abroad and trust me farine and Koko sticks make a delicious meal

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5
  6. The Eyes have it
    January 24, 2022

    So sale of farine is not even popular in Dominica and the minister saying government working on increase the sale of it in the region? I didn’t see which minister that talk that foolishness but I can tell that minister was may under some influence of rum and just spoke some crap. Reminds of that former minister of agriculture from Paix Bouche told people to start to raise manicou, agooti and rapid because his government is working on getting some markets in the region and US, so farmers could sell smoked manicou, agooti and rabbit to DEXIA who would export them to the region and US. But way that minister nou? Skerrit sent him to Cuba for good man?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3
    January 24, 2022

    its exported to the make believe country on the make believe boat they promise years ago

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6
  8. Words to Action
    January 24, 2022

    Do you know how long I have been hearing of the Government’s plan to increase farine export? For decades now the people of Good Hope on the East have been planting cassava and it’s always a struggle to get their farine sold on the local market far less for regional markets. Some years ago a few Good Hope residents visited Venezuela to learn of other ways to use the cassava to produce other cassava products but nothing positive came out of this trip. Let us hope that the Minister of Trade is serious about exporting farine on a much larger scale and I do hope he assists the cassava farmers of Good Hope with the construction of small factories or the upgrade of existing factories in Good Hope.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

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