Minister for Trade, Ian Douglas, has said that a vessel to export Dominica’s agricultural produce is no pie in the sky promise.
He said that the matter is high on the government’s agenda.
He was speaking of the radio program, Focus on Government and Development, on Thursday evening.
“A couple of weeks ago when I said the vessel is still a high priority for the government, persons from other media houses and persons who do not necessarily support the government felt that it is another pie in the sky promise by government,” he stated. “But I can assure you that we have a committee in place looking at the specs of the type of vessel that we need to be able to support the industry.”
In October 2013 the Government of Dominica announced that it was in contact with a group of vessel operators to determine all the issues to be considered in acquiring a vessel primarily for transporting Dominica’s agricultural commodities.
Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, said at a press conference that the availability of a cargo vessel will enable hucksters and companies involved in the trade of agricultural goods to take advantage of markets in the south of the Caribbean adding that Government’s real interest is “the facilitation of export and trade” which will no doubt bring immense opportunities as far as job creation is concerned.
The Government said at the time that it is hoping that the private sector will express interest in partnering with Government in this enterprise.
Meantime Douglas informed that pack houses the government invested in should up and running “hopefully” very soon.
“Again you know of our investments in the pack houses and hopefully I would say by July we should have the pack houses up and running,” he stated.
Douglas mentioned that tenders have been sent out for the procurement of equipment to run the pack houses and so far they have gotten a response from a potential provider.
“We have looked at the tender, we have accepted the tender and we have actually engaged that provider in actually procuring the equipment that we need to get the pack houses up and running because the pack houses are an essential element in being able to get the produce to the market in the condition that the market requires,” he said.