Agriculture Minister, Johnson Drigo has reported damages amounting to over $200 million to Dominica’s agricultural sector after the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.
According to him many of the island’s farms are close to the water ways and they have taken a pounding from the storm.
“The damage done by Tropical Storm Erika to the farming sector is well over $200-million to the agricultural sector and it’s across the board,” he said.
Drigo explained that one poultry farmer in the Roseau Valley, “a major egg producer,” has lost his entire holding.
“We have the effects to the bay leaf industry especially in the Petite Savanne area,” he stated.
Additionally landslides have affected farms across the island, he noted.
“So farmers have really take a pounding from Erika and the Ministry of Agriculture is pledging its support to these farmers in getting back on their feet, so that we can push the vital agriculture sector forward,” Drigo stated.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that the government of Dominica is already receiving support from various agricultural institutions since the storm.
“I am very thankful to friendly governments and organizations who have come forward to assist us in the agricultural sector,” he noted. “I must say that the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) have committed US $300,000 to the agricultural sector. These funds will be managed by IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture) and the funds will go towards assisting in clearing of feeder roads, opening of the drains and giving support to the industry, the purchase of fertilizer and the purchase of vegetable seeds, and other support to our farmers to bring back their livelihood.”
Furthermore he revealed that the Ministry of Agriculture has started to support farmers with root crops.
“We are providing fertilizer… presently distribution has started to support 500 acres of root crops in terms of sweet potatoes, dasheen, yams…,” Drigo noted. “We are also preparing to receive from the BAM (Banana Accompanying Measures) some 20,000 bags of fertilizer to support not only the banana and plantain sub-sector but to support agriculture in general.”