“The agricultural sector is alive in Dominica.”
This is according to new Minister for Agriculture, Johnson Drigo.
He said, however, a lot of work has to be done to improve the sector.
“It’s just that there (is) room for improvement in everything,” Drigo told DNO. “The agricultural industry is a very large industry in Dominica and it will continue to play an integral role in the overall development of Dominica.”
He said a report will be made available in the upcoming year of actual agricultural production in Dominica.
“We will be able to tell the Dominican public our production in yams, in dasheen because there are families, as we speak, who depend on agriculture, who have benefited from agriculture, who continue to send their children to study overseas through agriculture, so the agricultural sector is alive,” he said.
The new minister said he has been meeting with various departments in order to get a better understanding of how these departments operate and “getting a better understanding of the work that they do, the challenges that they face, and I have been called to the task.”
He stated also that his ministry is looking at increasing production as well as an increase in the marketing of agricultural produce.
“There will be synergies, we will be working with the Ministry of Trade. We are looking forward in taking advantage of the regional market,” Drigo said. “We intend to purchase a vessel to transport our goods to the neighbouring islands. I will be working very closely with extension and the farmer’s group (s) and we will be working with structures such as the NAO office (National Authorizing Office) of Dominica so that we will implement programs coming from the BAM (Banana Accompanying Measure), you know there are several components of the BAM which include, the Feeder Road Program. There is also the expansion of the banana and plantain sub-sector.”
Drigo mentioned that his ministry would be dealing with the issue of Black Sigatoka, “once and for all”.
A special program will also be introduced for farmers in 2015, “where they will be involved in targeted production,” the minister stated.