Agriculture Minister, Reginald Austrie, had told farmers in Salisbury that Dominica has to be rebuilt after Hurricane Maria and they must to look to the future.
He spoke during a ‘Meet the Farmers Tour’ in the community last week.
“We have a country to build, we have a country to feed,” he said. “We have an economy to fix and so while can lament on the past but I think the bigger picture is what the future holds for us.”
He told the farmers now is the time to start afresh in the agriculture industry.
“We don’t want to stifle anybody, we want to give you your freedom to speak and speak as much as you want,” he stated. “But I believe Maria has washed away many of our sins, Maria has washed away many of the things in the river and I believe it’s time that we start afresh, that we turn over a new leaf and let us see where we can take that industry and how successful we can make the industry.”
Austrie pointed out there are two distinct type farmers and they should be treated differently.
“We should have two types of farmers,” he explained. “We should have commercial farmers, that is farmers that produce on a large scale for the export market and we should have small farmers that should concentrate on providing food for us the local market.”
According to Austrie, the two cannot be treated in the same way.
“You cannot give a small farmer two bags of fertilizer and give the commercial farmer two bags of fertilizer, it does not make sense,” he stated. “You cannot give a small farmer a quart of gramaxone and give everybody a quart of gramoxone across the board, it can’t work like that.”
He said such approach does not make sense.
“It doesn’t make any sense because the needs are different, the expanse of their cultivation is different and their work is different,” Austrie said.