Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Harold Guiste, has said that there is a “bombardment” of requests for agricultural produce from Dominica to various markets around the world.
According to the government official, there are also persons who make special requests to come to Dominica to contribute to the agricultural sector plus potential markets in areas such as Holland.
“Some of the people making these requests are even coming here to try to get land to grow the things themselves because they value the nature isle. They want the image, so there is a guy from Germany who is here; he wants to get land for him to produce passion fruits and some African melon…there is another from Holland requesting large containers of stuff and then we have the U.S. market and the U.K. market and so on,” Guiste said.
As a result of these requests, the Ministry of Agriculture is “gearing up” to see what can be done to take advantage of these initiatives and through a dasheen expansion program, quotas for various markets have been set in order to meet the demands.
“The Ministry of Agriculture has embarked on a project to increase production of dasheen as an economic crop for Dominica. In that regard, a dasheen expansion program has been developed to meet at least two containers of dasheen to the U.S., maybe one or two to the U.K. and other produce to be taken by hucksters through the region,” Guiste revealed.
He highlighted how this aspect of the agricultural sector fits in well with the motives of IICA in that twenty-five fresh produce exporters, pack house operators and farmers have received assistance in increasing their knowledge on post harvest handling, quality standards, and traceability for dasheen and other root crops through a two-day workshop where IICA formed part of the collaborating organizations.
A “comprehensive assessment” was also conducted on the potential of the coffee sub sector.
“At the request of the ministry of agriculture, IICA assisted with a comprehensive assessment of the coffee subsector in Dominica, and produced a report with recommendations for advancing the sector,” Guiste added.
The Ministry of Agriculture official said a source of funding has been secured to enter into phase two of production of coffee within that sub sector.