Agriculture’s place in the new budget

It’s not clear what level of attention the agriculture sector will receive when Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit presents the national budget on July 17, in his capacity as finance minister.

But his critics have been blasting PM Skerrit and his government for, in their words, ignoring agriculture in favor of tourism, resulting in the once striving sector buckling under tremendous strain.

In his 2010 budget presentation the prime minister had been conscious of the need to pay serious attention to agriculture, which, when banana was king, made significant contributions to the state coffers.

“In agriculture the next level will be greatly increased market driven production and quality commodities to be supplied on a regular and reliable basis to niche markets in the Caribbean and beyond,” the prime minister promised in 2010.

His critics suggest his government has failed miserably to deliver on that promise.

Earlier this year when PM Skerrit announced that government was making $2 million available to tackle farm access roads, his critics were harsh in their condemnation, suggesting that much more of the $20 million he announced for major road rehabilitation should have been allocated for dealing with feeder roads to facilitate farmers being able to take their produce to the local market, and as equally important to facilitate exports.

The prime minister has indicated that the rough global economic situation dictates that a budget reflecting those hard times is what will be presented.

How austere it will be will become evident on July 17.

Whether agriculture will receive key attention there also won’t be known until he unveils the 2012-2013 fiscal package.

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10 Comments

  1. nature Girl
    July 3, 2012

    In the future there will be world wide shortages of food! I see Dominica’s way forward as farming. We have all the resources we need to grow anything. We have everything at our fingertips. The farmers need to start growing vegetables that would be good to export around the world from the exotic to provisions. The young need to get back to working the land and being proud again. We can be organic also which is in big demand world wide. To have the richness of the land is to be rich. I am sure that the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit is far sighted enough to see this is where the money needs to be spent. He is a young man with vision. Let us hope he surprises a lot of Dominicans and shows his support for the farmers and the farming future of Dominica!!

  2. weezib
    July 3, 2012

    I would swear Agriculture was the only sector that grew over the past three years… tourism didnt for sure? Agriculture holds the future, whether through exportation of raw or manufactured products, import substitution.
    An improvement in food quality and availability will also lead to a better health sector, less stress on our hospitals and definitely happier relationships, the way to a man’s heart is still through his stomach…

    long live agriculture

  3. Davidson William
    July 3, 2012

    DNO, I thought another 5Million was carded for road shortly after the 2M allotment

    But there has to be some more emphasis placed on Agriculture by government and also the private sector. Pump a little more money into it. GOvernement in conjunction witht the Private Sector can build Agri-Depot across the major hubs in the country. The Private Sector Machinery can then creat a Mega Hub in Portsmoth and Roseau for both local consumption and export.

    THEN…..

    The private sector can say we will buy all the juices and fruits/vegeatables from Dominica and charge higher premiums on imported stuff.

    ALSO

    Why can’t there be someone of the talking heads on Radio invest in an abbatoir and distribute quality organic meats and also incluse fish around the country to the supermarkets.

    THEREFORE

    We (We Dominicans) have to take charge of Agriculture and not rely solely on government.

    Gorvernment reply to trends and the trend is tourism. The goal of the government is to drive revenue and every government will pick from the low hanging fruits (Tourism) to drive revenue.

    We can debate this for as long we wish, Agriculture in the Caribbean is not a revenue generator it used to be.

    The same thing can be said for LIME vis-a vis telephony/communication services…Home Telephone is no longer a revenue generator for them as much as cell phone is now. And twenty years from now it will be something else.

    So we need to get with the program, we need to evolve.

    So Government, please give them a jump start/life-line but the private sector needs to drive this.

  4. Portsmouth
    July 3, 2012

    The only solution is to tiwais yo si yo pas bon. After 13 years they cannot get it right . All we have had from this regime is lies and propaganda. A blown up balloon that is all it is. They talk about they being the best administration- well off course they can fool the 18- 30 year old with that crap because this age group does not know any better. What a disaster – we went from being an independent people to beggars – a people whose only hope is in the likelihood that Chavez or the Chinese will drop a penny in the charity basket. Guess what the Chavez largesse is over and the Chinese met their objective – it’s over people it’s over. Now what? This government has done nothing to build a sustainable economy; They met a system in place for tourism development – they talk tourism and where are we in Tourism? Last in the eastern Caribbean!!!!!. We had Cruise Ship Berths built before St Kitts and even St Lucia – go figure.
    I don’t understand why our people can’t see or smell that Boulogne coming from government. The administration is focused strictly on disseminating lies through people who are desperate to hold on to the goodies that they are receiving at the demise of the everyday Dominicans. The ambassadors, the pretentious Laborites like Charlo, Lawrences, Tony etc.

    Ladies and gentlemen examine the situation- ask yourself the hard questions like- Did my life improve over the last 12 years? Who are the ones making progress? Is all that glittering propaganda really gold cause supposedly we were doing good, giving monies to Anguilla and Antigua, we were sending money to relatives in America, Agriculture a has been economic entity but tourism is viable enough to carry us through; Try to understand why in a land so fertile and blessed that we are importing bread, fruit juices, water, vegetables etc – who is making the money on all these imported goods. To those who are older than 33 and over ; remember what we had from the 80’s to the late 90’s; we bought our vehicles l’argent cheche , pay packets were meeting pay packets, trades men were actively employed ( today Chinese have taken over) and our trades men are running away.

    Call me partisan or anti DLP if you like but at the day’s end my reality is your reality whether or not we want to hear it or not.

    • Davidson William
      July 3, 2012

      Try to understand why in a land so fertile and blessed that we are importing bread, fruit juices, water, vegetables etc ….I can’t blame the governement on that…if you want to buy imported bread, shame on you…if you buy an imported apple thats not bad, but when you buy imported banana or imported water something is wrong with we as a people and not government…I say let Arthie do the bottling of water, not Ambrose.

      – who is making the money on all these imported goods….the people selling are the ones making the money…Governemt collects tax…LOL…think Bro

      To those who are older than 33 and over ; remember what we had from the 80’s to the late 90’s; we bought our vehicles l’argent cheche…die to financial regulation you can’t buy a vehicle “l’arget cheche”…but I get what you are saying..there are much more registered vehicles in Dominca now with a smaller population, so it depends on what you are trying to say.

      pay packets were meeting pay packets, trades men were actively employed ( today Chinese have taken over) and our trades men are running away.

      WOW…CHINESE…Are they really taking over our tradesmen…you must say things that are believable…that is so not true…is like the Americans saying the Mexicans are taking over their trade…you stretch that one all the way to Beijing

      Call me partisan or anti DLP if you like but at the day’s end my reality is your reality whether or not we want to hear it or not.

      YES you are anti-DLP and that is your democratic right. But if you want to replace them, you have to come better than that.

      Do a little more homework and maybe I can join you.

  5. Trueman
    July 3, 2012

    **FINALLY THEY ARE PAYING ATTENTION**

    Looks like they are finally listening to Mr.James!!

    Mr. James, you need to now tell them how to make good use of this new agriculture budget. I believe they need your imput…. AGAIN.

    Now, UWP is not a very organized party BUT I support them on this issue TOTALLY!!

    Our farmers are hard workers. They deserve respect and the financial attention.

    Thank You Edison James!

  6. Farmer
    July 3, 2012

    PM, its easy to fix Ariculture. Trained Management with a holistic approach using a USD $200 million (loan/grant) from the Chinese for Marketing, Production( crops and livestock) and Agro- processing…….Nature Island Farms.

  7. Pedro
    July 3, 2012

    Dominica agriculture produced an estimated $100m a year in foreign exchange before the labour party took office.Today income from agriculture is in the region of $ 20m. The leadership in the sector is the worst in the history of the country.There must be a transformation in Policy and investments, in order to save the Sector.

    • langsal
      July 3, 2012

      20 million, check your statistics again cause i know its less

  8. grell
    July 3, 2012

    The pm has no idea how hes damaging dominica.farmers should not be begging you like that bro.it will come back and hunt you one day.

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