Minister for Agriculture Johnson Drigo has said the cocoa industry in Dominica has made a “come back” and the first phase of a new cocoa sweating and drying facility in Marigot is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
Drigo said at the second of a series of post budget meetings held at the Salybia Government School last night that the facility will process wet cocoa.
“A new cocoa sweating and drying facility is under construction in Marigot. It will process wet cocoa beans for local consumption and for export [and] the first phase estimated at $257,000 is to be completed by August 2015,” he said.
He noted that many farmers from across the island are returning to cocoa.
“Ladies and gentlemen cocoa has made a come back in Dominica,” he said. “A number of famers have returned to farming cocoa. Acreage that were abandoned and overgrown by the forest are being pruned, rehabilitated, and properly managed for increased production.”
He said a project dubbed the ‘Cocoa Expansion Project’ is coming on stream and will cost $1-million.
The Minister revealed that government is presently investing in a mist propagation system for the propagation of cocoa by cuttings at a soon to be rehabilitated hardening facility at Londonderry.
“Work is presently ongoing in that regard,” he noted.
In March of this year, the Cocoa Rehabilitation Project which is funded by the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) for the purchase of pruning tools and other equipment required for good husbandry practices geared towards enhancing the industry was embarked upon.
The project aims to increase cocoa production on the island for both local consumption and export.
Recently Dominican, Gabriel Christian, announced that his chocolate brand, Chocolat de la Dominique, has partnered with a US firm to build a state of the art cocoa industry in Dominica.