Director of Trade in the Ministry of Employment, Trade, Industry and Diaspora Affairs, Wellsworth Bethelmie, has said that development of the Agricultural sector will reap benefits for the economy in Dominica
Speaking at a two-day workshop geared at strengthening and upgrading all Agriculture Health and Food Systems (AHFS) in the OECS, Bethelmie stated that a strong sector will create jobs on the island.
“Having a strong agricultural sector would mean that jobs would be created, economic status of the small islands would be uplifted but most importantly also is having healthy food, plants and animals. AHFS is for us to look at what we are currently doing to develop that sector,” he said.
Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Helen Royer, said the workshop testifies to the commitment and willingness to improving health and food safety, which is a global issue of concern.
“The availability of safe food improves the health of people and is a basic human right. Safe food contributes to health and productivity and provides an effective platform for development of poverty alleviation. Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the health risks posed by pathogens and potentially hazardous chemicals which plague food,” she noted.
She added that to achieve regional support national commitment is necessary. “Food grown in one country can now be transported and consumed halfway across the world since people demand a wider variety of foods than in the past. Agriculture cannot do it alone neither can health do it. The integration of both plant, animal and health and food safety, needs to be synchronised to yield a positive outcome” Royer said.
The project is also geared at encouraging greater participation of the private sector and the sensitization of key stakeholders in the operations of the AHFS while strengthening institutional and administrative capacity in their operation and management.
Other objectives of the workshop include, sensitizing the public and private sector participants on the importance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and AHFS systems to trade, discussing a framework of collaboration and support for implementation of the OECS AHFS programme and discussing improvement of legislation, protocols, standards, measures and guidelines in the area of AHFS and Fisheries for national and regional SPS regimes.
The workshop, which will end on 14th May, is being attended by officials and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Health and Employment, Trade, Industry and Diaspora Affairs.