Agriculture minister urges farmers to apply to World Bank-funded agricultural project

Austrie at the launch of the World Bank-funded project

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Reginald Austrie, urges farmers and fishermen to apply to the recently-launched Dominica Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project in order to receive assistance in their agricultural endeavours.

The $25-million World Bank-funded project was officially launched last week.

In an address this week, Austrie advised that an ‘expression of interest’ is needed to access the program.

“This is not where people pass and ask you ‘what you want?’ and ‘what can I give you?’ and ‘how much fertilizer you want?’… You must express exactly what activity you’re involved in, what are your needs, what are your requirements,” he said. “You have to apply to the program for you to benefit from the program.”

The Minister encouraged farmers and fisher-folk to apply for the program “as quickly as possible,” and to “take their livelihood seriously.”

“Make the effort, spare the time. Make a day that you could come and take care of your business; make sure you register, and that you will qualify,” he instructed.

Austrie revealed that extension officers will be deployed in assisting with the completion of the required application forms.

“We will have the extension officers in the various divisions, who will assist you in filling out the application forms. And we’re also hoping that we can employ some people under the World Bank project. We can employ some people, on a short-term basis, who we will deploy at intervals. It would shorten the distance between your farming area and where the agricultural station is,” he explained. “We will seek to deploy staff as conveniently as possible for the benefit of the farmer, [so] that you can take advantage.”

In March 2019, Austrie said that his ministry was faced with challenges in the distribution of over $18 million to Dominican farmers, under a project funded by the World Bank, to assist in the restoration of livelihoods, reduction in nutritional shortages, reduction in mass migration and to ensure food security.

The Minister went on to state that a validation exercise would be put in place to prevent this situation from reoccurring, and that his ministry was compiling a list of farmers who did not obtain any benefits from the programme so they too could receive some assistance.

The the distribution of the World Bank money had been severely criticized by the United Workers’ Party (UWP) which claimed that the manner in which the money was being distributed had “subjected hundreds of bona fide farmers and fishers to blatant injustice.” The UWP accused the government of abusing the 18-million-dollar grant for partisan political purposes, and called the party called on the World Bank “to order a full forensic investigation of the controversial aspects of the programme.”

This time, the Agriculture Minister, has indicated that a proper procedure has been put in place to facilitate participation in the World Bank-funded programme.

Over 4,000 farmers and fisher-folk are expected to receive assistance under this program.

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21 Comments

  1. Conscious
    August 18, 2019

    When farmers take loans but do not have proper access roads to their farms how are they going to pay back the loans. Are their name going to be on a delinquent list? Is the bank going to take the little they have achieved from them? Austrie let the horse pull the cart.

  2. Bwa-Banday
    August 16, 2019

    Austrie Garson you brave eh! You all dress in battle red and not seeing the BLUE soldier, dressed in battle blue sitting behind behind you? The man there hiding in plain sight? :lol: :lol: :lol: . The man have you covered boy. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  3. Annon
    August 15, 2019

    They certainly do rotate this post of Agriculture Minister frequently. Last I heard it was Dr. Thomas. Now is it someone else. The World Bank is not what you are led to believe, but it is too late now to change anything.

  4. Casio
    August 15, 2019

    More money in agriculture again. Lets see all those fake farmers stand up again for their $10,000. I dont know why the government doesnt just take a few hectares of state land and plant cash crops. @ years after Maria we could have planted a field of coconut trees and other cash crops for processing and value added. Instead, Old bald headed dogs trying to use the same old tricks and expecting new results. Madness. This time, there will be more accountability for your information. Im glad you yourself know it is all being monitored and CANNOT roll like how you people normally like to roll. But thanks for being the first to give us the heads up that it wont’

    • August 15, 2019

      Thanks for the information. How do we apply for this loan . How do you prevent hackers or powerful politicians and government officials not hijacking this opportunity so as to get to farmers directly.

  5. Luca Spark
    August 15, 2019

    The terms of the funding requires loanees to put up collateral, which hardly any poor farmers have. This means that the loans will ultimately go to the people who least need it. This isn’t a solution, it’s just smoke and mirrors. In the meantime, Haitians are taking over the agriculture sector and their produce – for domestic consumption – is not regulated or safety tested. This minister, like those before him, has no interest in properly developing Dominica’s agriculture sector with a workable strategy. It’s just talk.

  6. Watch Dog
    August 15, 2019

    Who qualifies as a farmer again? Must I ware a red t-shirt? Do five banana plants make a plantation? The farmers I know, the ones who actually farm, don‘t have time to fill in 1000 papers. And more importantly they all stay as far away as possible from these scams. Just distribute the 2‘000‘000‘000 and we‘ll be fine!

  7. RandyX
    August 15, 2019

    Whatever Austrie is saying, this is yet another scam to keep labour supporter happy and buy new votes. Remember last time round most of VC got money even if they didn’t have a square foot of land. Here we are a year later and they try and fool us again! How despicable!

  8. Gold Teeth
    August 14, 2019

    Skerrit should make Austrie the funeral minister because Skerrit only sends ministers he does not like to be minister of agriculture since he knows he killed agriculture. I might be wrong but to the best of my knowledge every minister that served as minister for agriculture under Skerrit NEVER gets moved to another ministry. Once he throws them in agriculture know they on their way out. So Austrie you on your way out! Just that the entire cabinet is on their way out

    • RandyX
      August 16, 2019

      He won’t be. Austrie holds one trump card and that card is called PETROCARIBE. Remember PetroCaribe ‘leaked’ US$100 million. Austrie and the crimeminister in that big time!! In other words, the Dschungel Warrior knows to much…

  9. Roger Burnett
    August 14, 2019

    In term of our fishermen (one of which I am proud to be related to) they need to go beyond fiber-glass 18 ft dinghies, ice boxes and outboard motors.

    What they need is:

    45 ft to 50 ft steel vessels, powered by inboard diesel engines, with on-board refrigeration, crew quarters/galley for four, navigation and fish finding equipment and able to stay at sea for five to seven days.

    Nothing less will do.

    • Cyril Ralph Volney
      August 16, 2019

      In total agreement. Fishermen can form groups to co own larger fishing boats. These 25 ft outboard engine day boats are a waste of time.

  10. you sure?
    August 14, 2019

    Ok Mr. Austrie. I will call the World Bank. When I get them , I will ask to be transferred to their Anti-money laundering section. We need them to investigate 1 billion dollars missing from our state coffers.

  11. Anansi
    August 14, 2019

    Copain Austrie, why is the World Bank funding project, when we suppose to have enough in the treasury to take care of those needs? Give the money to another needy nation man!

    Copain, where de money from CBI to fund the program?

    Copain, O’ ti largent??!!

  12. MR Hector Marie
    August 14, 2019

    please correct me if I am wrong but Austrie did not say where the application should be taken to or made. And in the statement he used the words if you qualify which I see as in need of because you are a farmer in need or you are no farmer and only want . This should be used in applying for free housing which as far as I know is not mentioned

    • Joseph John
      August 14, 2019

      @ Mr Marie, call the P S of the Ministry of Agriculture or check an extension officer.
      You have to “bar cow ban.” you sound like one of the lazy uwp talking heads who can always find something to complain about.

      • MR Hector Marie
        August 15, 2019

        joseph john I want you to know that I am not a talking head as you seem to be a D L P kisser if you know what I mean and go ask questions about me I am not lazy i have no need to beg ,i do not belong to any party in Dominica i am a registered democrat and do not look for hand out from any one and will never need

  13. jamie
    August 14, 2019

    Such A RICH COUNTRY WITH GOD BLESSED SOIL,YET OUR FARMERS STRUGGLE TO SELL WHAT THEY PRODUCE,DAMN SHAME ON THIS GOVERNMENT,WHAT WILL THIS SO CALLED LOANS DO FOR THE FARMERS?

  14. REAL!!!!
    August 14, 2019

    Reginald too late for that…………Time to vacate office!!!!!!

    Where our 1.2BILLION dollars gone?????

  15. dee
    August 14, 2019

    Mr Austrie
    I hear you loud and clear
    ”this is not where people pass and ask you what you want”
    ”and what can I give you” ”and how much fertilizer you want”
    are you now disclosing that was the procedure, and that it was totally wrong ? are you implying that now it should be done correctly ? you will try to do this the right way ? I have heard my elders say , ”give an idiot enough rope and he will hang himself ”. you are much older than me , have you heard this before too .
    Garcon only time will tell tan .

  16. dee
    August 14, 2019

    Mr Austrie
    I hear you mate , loud and clear too .
    ”this is not where people pass and ask you what you want”
    ”and what can I give you” ”and how much fertilizer you want ”
    Sir was that the procedure .
    are you disclosing now that is how things were done , and admitting that was bad practice . My elders used to say ,” if you give an idiot enough rope he will hang himself ” you are older than me , have you heard that one before ?

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