Dominica and Venezuela sign MOU for the development and expansion of coffee industry in Dominica

Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Matthew Walter, shakes hands with Venezuelan representative

The Government of Dominica has expanded its cooperation with the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Venezuela for the rehabilitation and expansion of coffee acreages in the Commonwealth of Dominica and operationalization of the Coffee Plant at One Mile in Portsmouth donated by the Venezuelan Government.

On his last visit to Dominica in June, 2009, the Venezuelan President, His Excellency, Hugo Chavez Frias, promised that his government would provide Dominica with a modern coffee processing plant.

The MOU states that a Coffee Grand National Company will be constituted taking into account the principles enshrined in the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of our America (ALBA) and the Treaty of Commerce of the People.

Speaking at the signing ceremony last week, Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Hon. Matthew Walter, stated the responsibilities to be executed by both countries as outlined in the MOU.

The Dominica Government has made available 50,000 sq. ft (1.5 acres) at One Mile in Portsmouth where the coffee processing plant has already been installed. Dominica will also be responsible to provide a slab of approximately 20,000 sq. ft to install the structure as well as perimeter fencing, transportation, electricity, water and other basic utilities during construction and make land available to the company for demonstration and training of coffee producers.

For its part Venezuela will provide the designs and plans, and execute the construction of the shed. Venezuela will also supply, install and commence operations of the Coffee Processing Plant. Venezuela will be responsible to provide training to personnel operating the machinery and the producers of coffee as well as provide assistance for the rehabilitation and establishment of coffee fields in Dominica.

In his remarks, Hon. Walter reiterated the intention of the Government to diversify agriculture in Dominica. The Minister added that Dominica has the terrain, rainfall and soil type to produce a top quality brand name coffee.

Mr. Walter acknowledged that in the 1980s and 90s farmers cut down their coffee trees and went into bananas due to the relatively high prices the fruit attracted in Europe.

In light of the changes that have taken place in the banana industry over the years, Hon. Walter issued a call to farmers to seize the opportunities currently available by going back into coffee production in a significant way.

“Farmers, the opportunities are enormous and the market is available. You have the potential to produce large volumes of coffee. New technologies in coffee production have changed the old concept of tall tree coffee. The methods of harvesting coffee have changed. No more do you have to climb a tall ladder. It is our responsibility to revive the local coffee industry and I am calling on all concerned to embrace the opportunity and plant more coffee,” Hon. Walter concluded.

The complete coffee plant arrived in Dominica from Venezuela on July 22, 2009. Since then the Technical Staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Technical Services Division of the Ministry of Public Works, Energy and Ports, the Office of the Attorney General as well as their counterparts in Venezuela have been working assiduously in the last several months on this project.

In the last few months there have also been several high powered technical missions by the President of Café Venezuela, Mrs. Alida Moreno to Dominica.

Also in attendance at the signing ceremony were Mr. Francisco Anzola Minister/Counsellor, Venezuelan Embassy in Dominica, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Samuel Carette, acting Director of Agriculture, Mr. Richard Alport , Dr. John Toussaint, Head of the Agriculture Investment Unit, Mr. Jose Antonio Olavarria, Second Secretary, Venezuelan Embassy and Ms. Yaritza Barbosa, First Secretary, Venezuelan Embassy.

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  1. Thunder Horse
    June 8, 2010

    Thats a good move, Dominica needs to be diverse in our Agriculture system, more cocoa, more coffee and to look at Food Processing its a step in the right direction, people will see it’s significance.

  2. Anonymous
    June 7, 2010

    to lil to late

  3. Stokes
    June 7, 2010

    Start planting coffee!!!!

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