In the spirit of celebration, and under the Independence theme Annou Sélébwé (Let’s Celebrate) fifteen vendors and farmers supplying the Roseau Market and Multi-Purpose Pack Houses of the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) were recognized for the efforts in the past year, at the annual “Market Day with a Difference / Jounen La Plas Épi Yon Diféwans” held on Saturday 28th October, 2023 at the New Roseau Market, where Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, in his feature address, recognised their work as “the lifeblood of the country’s economy” and thanked them for their “invaluable” contribution to the agricultural sector.
According to Eastern Caribbean Central Bank data, Agriculture contributes approximately XCD$230M to Dominica’s economy. Recognising this contribution, and the potential for growth in the sector, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (GoCD) therefore aims to have agriculture contribute $700M to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030. An “attainable” and “absolutely necessary” goal, remarked Prime Minister Skerrit, who shed light on how food and water systems are adversely affected by severe weather- a serious threat to vulnerable populations. Securing of food systems is therefore, key to ensuring the sustainability of food supplies.
Prime Minister Skerrit, in his address, highlighted the GoCDs contributions to the Agriculture sector through building of capacity through visible increases in production of root crops, plantain, vegetables, livestock and non-traditional crops, increases in exports and recent explorations of new markets for Dominican produce and reengaging of Regional partners. He however, cautioned members of the audience that while the Government did its part, they had a role to play as well, through the consumption of local produce.
“I have called for us to consume more of what we grow and we have backed this up with investments in small farming enterprise, agro processing businesses and the provision of technical and financial support for young and established farmers to produce a variety of crops for sale both locally and regionally,” remarked Prime Minister Skerrit.
“Market day with a difference is another opportunity to reiterate my consistent call to support local products, eat healthier foods and make wiser choices about our diet and health,” he added.
The Prime Minster considers the annual Market Day with a Difference / Jounen La Plas Épi Yon Diféwans” organised by DEXIA (The Roseau Market Authority), “a most significant activity on our independence calendar.” He told awardees that it is “a platform for our nation to exalt the work you do and remind you of the key role you play in ensuring the food security of this country.”
The farmers, fishers and vendors that were awarded were as follows:
Farmers/Vendors at the Roseau Market:
Helena Williams – 1st place (prize sponsored by Do It Center)
Philomen Pacquette – 2nd place (prize sponsored by AID Bank)
Farmers who supply the Multi-Purpose Pack House (MPPH) (new award):
Culmore Shillingford (prize sponsored by Fine Foods Supermarket, DEXIA and Jolly’s Pharmacy)
Kervin Vidal (prize sponsored by J. Astaphan & Co Ltd and DEXIA)
Elie Joseph (prize sponsored by J. Astaphan & Co Ltd and DEXIA)
Emmanuel Pierre-1st place (prize sponsored by Autotrade)
Oreaus Timothy- 2nd place (prize sponsored by Agrisales and Services)
Richard Bellot -1st place (prize sponsored by NDFD)
Brandon Pacquette- 2nd place (prize sponsored by Dominica Social Security)
Shelly Anne Cadette- 1st place (prize sponsored by Dominica Social Security)
Cordelia Lavelle- 2nd place (prize sponsored by J. Astaphan & Co. Ltd.)
Best Decorated Stall / Shop (prize sponsored by J Astaphan & Co Ltd. and Jollys Pharmacy) – Virginia Mellow
Best Dressed Vendor (prize sponsored by: J Astaphan & Co Ltd & Body Bliss Spa) – Valda George
Vendor most fluent in Kwéyòl (Sponsored by Body Bliss Spa and Jollys Pharmacy) – Darlene Morency
Motivational Award (Sponsored by Jungle Bay Resort) – Damien Raphael – Butcher
Staff Award (Sponsored by Fort Young Hotel) – Augustus Gorden has been employed with the Roseau Market for four years as a handyman/cleaner.
Special thanks to HHV Whitchurch for donating 16 Maggie Umbrellas which will be distributed to Roseau Market Vendors. Vendors Martha Joseph and Anna Charles each received an umbrella at the official ceremony.
“Market Day with a Difference / Jounen La Plas Épi Yon Diféwans” is held each year on the last Saturday in the month of October, as part of Dominica’s official Independence activities. This year’s event was attended by several government officials and invited guests to include Her Excellency President Sylvanie Burton and Mr. Burton, His Excellency Lin Xian Jiang Chinese ambassador to Dominica, Hon. Dr. Vince Henderson- Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy, Hon. Greta Roberts, Minister for Culture, Youth, Sports and Community Development, Mrs. Barbara Dailey- Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy, Head of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Unit Ryan Anselm, Former DEXIA Chairman Hannah Clarendon and Former DEXIA General Manager Gregoire Thomas.