Dominican produce described as garbage; Agriculture minister wants farmers to ‘step up’

(DNO) Farmers in Dominica have been told to step up to the plate or get ready to face serious problems in the sale of their produce on the regional markets.

Agriculture Minister Mathew Walter who attended an OECS Ministers of Agriculture meeting in St Kitts, on the way forward for agriculture in the region, said one regional head described Dominica’s produce as garbage.

Walter says Dominica is not fully prepared to take advantage of the regional market.

“Dominica is yet to take advantage of the lucrative markets out there because we are not organised enough to take advantage of the markets out there. We are crying and lamenting that there are no markets out there but the markets are right there in the region. We have not fully taken advantage of the market situation. There is also a concern with respects to meeting standards,” he said.

He said “we cannot jeopardize the health of people…at the conference, one of the delegates described Dominica’s produced as garbage. They said we export rejects to them and the presentation is poor. We get the impression that they will soon put down their feet”

Walter says there is a need to educate farmers on maintaining good quality standards.

“This is why it is pertinent and imperative that we educate the public with respects to keeping standards and maintain standards,” he said.

According to Water, the only way to keep the markets is to ensure quality produce.

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58 Comments

  1. Prophet2
    June 10, 2010

    Blame the government cuz they didn’t give the farmers any standards to go by.

    • Blame them
      June 11, 2010

      I agree.

  2. Piper
    June 10, 2010

    The only blame I can lay on the government is the failure to educate the farmers (if they have not aleady done that). Farming is a business the world over. We don’t have to go very far to see it. I know farmers in Trinidad who take this thing very seriously and they are very wealthy.

    I have an old man Trinidadian farmer friend, who over the years bought larger tracks of land – he reinvested in the “business”. This guy has been able to save loads of money in US banks. He is uneducated, but has a sharp mind for the business side of farming. This has paid off quite handsomely for him. He is not alone. It all depends on how you approach it. If you look at farming as a proper business with good quality control, you will not run into the problems of foreigners saying you are selling them junk. There is a reason why some people complain that their best produce get exported. Because they face stronger competition from other foreign produiced goods. You must step up your game to stay in business. We expport product to Europe and we are extra careful with the quality because we know that claims for defective material are very expensive to resolve.

  3. Blame them
    June 10, 2010

    @sirmydia,

    The Labour Party is to blame because they are the party controlling the country. Government is responsible for the failures of the Minister of the Agricultural Sector because they put him in that position. Government Ministers must learn to do their jobs and not expect Dominican citizens to do it for them. It is the government and its Ministers that are in charge and responsible for everything that Dominica does as a country, because they are the face of Dominica to the rest of the world.

  4. sirmydia
    June 10, 2010

    How can Dominica move forward when every problem is blame on Government? We D/cans need to grow up, If the delegate said it garbage and he come back and said what they say..why can we just improve what we produce and sell good up to standard? I’m sick of D/cans stupid comments..Come on the whole world sees the crap you’ll write..Please grow up. Election done… build the country..believe me D/ca id how it is today because of the ignorant people we are.. Sure investors will seek other countriess instead of D/ca.

    • thunder horse
      June 10, 2010

      I agree with SIRMYDIA we blame everything on the government, we need to check ourselves more often

    • June 11, 2010

      so true…

  5. So Jah Say
    June 10, 2010

    I hope all those farmers who voted for that bunch of idiots now realise how they got swept up and carried away with the red devils.
    It is shameful and surely is evidence of how these people have been taking the country for a ride.
    They cannot or will not do any of the people’s work unless it is handed on a plate free.
    Can you believe that these guys have been in office since 2000 and knowing that agiculture in all its forms is the bread basket of the nation, ignored and ran it into the ground in search of free money and now he comes back from a regional confrence on agriculture having not lifted a finger to save the industry in 10(ten) years and tells us what we produce is garbage.It sounds to me Mr Minister that you totally agree with your counterpart, so now tell us how are you going to fix it, afterall the function of your ministry is to improve the quality of what we produce. But you won’t, unless pappa chavez does it for you so you can announce it.

    YOU ARE USELESS, USELESS USELESS YOU ARE USELESS, USELESS USELESS YOU ARE USELESS, USELESS USELESS DO THE RIGHT THING AND RESIGN.

  6. George Bush
    June 10, 2010

    I am happy that we Dominicans received this review for an regional body. These same farmers and market vendors are the ones who are against Save a lot from importing better quality food. I deserve to have a choice. It is time our farmers step up to the plate.

  7. Dubiqois
    June 10, 2010

    There is a greater issue at hand: Antigua has been spear-heading the dirty name-calling, because the Antiguan farmers ( all 2.5 of them) have been lobbying their government complaining that they should not have to compete with Dominicans in their own markets.

    Their agricultural products are far and few, but they have been getting funding and more technical support from their government. They are teaching them agricultural technique such as proper irrigation, crop rotation, crop diversification, packaging, etc. They project that their agricultural sector will increase substantially, and their products will be more presentable for regional trade, because they will have met the standards. I do not know if this is true, but I have received this from an Antiguan friend in government.

    Since our exports of products fall under the fair trade agreement established under CARICOM, I have dug up an old copy if anyone is interested. Here is the link…

    http://www.oas.org/dsd/environmentLaw/EnvlawDB/Agreements/RevisedTreatyofChaguaramasChart%20_revised_.pdf

  8. child
    June 10, 2010

    all we have to do is try to make it better

  9. Anonymous
    June 10, 2010

    That is just soo sad

  10. Piper
    June 10, 2010

    For those of you who are upset because the other regional delegate described Dominican produce as garbage, you are obviuosly living in a fool’s paradise.

    I work in a manufacturing concern and I gotta tell you, we scrap a lot of material that is fully functional, but any slight blemish renders them unusable. If the colour is not right, it gets relegated to the secondary market, where the prices are well below the cost of the raw materials.

    That is what our customers demand and if we want to stay in the game that is what we need to do. Now, to stay in business, we cannot continue to produce substandard products. We need to find ways to improve the quality. There is no point in being upset at your customers who refuse to accept your junk.

    I remember once being told that the Roseau market vendors sold “stewing tomatoes”. Those were the busted ones which were not good for salads. The market vendors should keep those busted tomatoes at home and consume them themselves. If they had any pride in the quality of what they sold, they would not take it to market. We need to change our mindset in DOminica.

    • Dubiqois
      June 10, 2010

      I agree with you to a large extent. However, let us remember that our farmers have never had the education needed to translate their products into marketable items. Many of these individuals are not even farmers per se. They “growers” who were never schooled in the proper techniques of packaging and presentation. The same can be said for many other sectors in Dominica. If we have the knowledge, let’s present. It appears that you have a good knowledge of marketing goods and services. Make you recommendation to the minister. You never know. Collectively and constructively, we can make a difference.

      • ” I agree with you to a large extent. However, let us remember that our farmers have never had the education needed to translate their products into marketable items.” (Dubiqois).

        That statement may not be completely accurate, because way back in the late 1950’s or Farmers were always advised to produce quality agricultural products. The problem with our people is that we ignore every bit of sound and good advised thrown at our feet.

        The history of our banana industry will reveal that when we began shipping bananas to England, the fruits were cut, and shipped unprotected, and by the time they arrived in England, most of the bananas were covered with bruises, so the plastic bags were introduced; that did not help change the situation.

        So, the brown rappers with a soft inner-layer was added, now the problem with that was as long as the farmers could conceal the product from the inspectors at Long House, we shipped all kinds of bananas, that caused Guest Industries, to issue personal identification stamps to farmers, so that when the fruit arrived in England, and inspected prior to distribution, in the event they found a bad product, all they had to do is take a look at the brand on the banana stem, and the farmer who sold that bad product to the Dominica Association would be identified.

        And trust me, there were lots of complaint retuning to Dominica from England to the Association.

        I remember as a boy, a very tall man form Portsmouth, named Johnson would come to our village and identify the culprits who were wrapping the bad fruits.

        The same thing occurred in the rest of Windward Islands, Grenada, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia.

        As a result, the boxing system which might still be in use was introduced.

        Now, the altitude of our Farmers in the early days were simply this, I worked so hard to plant and whatever excuse and the rest they could find, ” so what are they expecting us to do with it.”

        The attitude said; complain if you wish, but I am not going to change my habits.

        Athie Martin is still alive, I believe he helped set up some cooperative relating to the Farmers, and agriculture, people such as him certainly emphasized the benefits of the quality of products the farmers brought to market.

        The British in the early days introduced agricultural experimental, and demonstration centers several places on the island, one was located at Londonderry, on the West side to where the Boxing Station is located, (we turn that into a cricket field after we chase the British out), the river is on the North side of the Boxing Plant, at least the last time I was in Wesley that’s where I left it.

        So, the claim that the farmers are not educated to quality might not be quite accurate.

        The problem with our people are that we like to defy authority, and reason!

        There are people in Dominica, who will pull some yams or other underground grown provision, and because of their superstitions; you know, obeiah, and voodoo, they will refuse to wash the soil of what they reap, for fear that some crap is going to happen to them, or their farm (garden) will no longer produce.

        So, here we have it, we are from the Nature island, any crap goes, and so our superstitions prevails over our intelligence!

        • June 10, 2010

          Very well put Francisco. How can we Dominicans have the temerity to defend our total lack of business acumen? We travel a lot, watch television endlessly, purchase from overseas markets and fail to take note of how hard foreign business people try to please us as customers.
          There is nothing produced in Dominica that is not found in North America; since our products would not be acceptable in those markets because of poor quality and presentation, other Caribbean countries have seized the opportunity.

          One guy insisted that our bananas are superior to any other because of sweetness! In the advanced countries, the shoppers are looking for unblemished goods, low sugar content is preferable to high sugar concentration; and for obvious health reasons. But such is the blindness that pervades our society where we set our own values and balk at the rebuke of more successful leaders of industry.

        • Dubiqois
          June 11, 2010

          You make valid points, Francisco. However, time has changed from what Geest expected from banana growers. To my understanding, it was basic field packing. There were no education on packaging and presentation for export. Geest ensured that its workers at its docking stations and distribution plants packaged and labeled its products appropriately based on regulatory standards for eact respective market in Europe.

          This is a bit different. We are talking mostly about individual merchants who are responsible for selling their own products regionally. There is no filter.

          A re-education is necessary. We need to tell farmers and merchants what is expected. We need a strict regulatory agency with strict standards.

          Of course, this will never be successful if the farmers and merchants do not buy into what is expected.

          All considered, you made some good points.

  11. Tonay
    June 10, 2010

    This, is the reason that the BVI, the USVI, Anguilla, and St.Martin/St.Maarten receive the majority of their produce from the Dominican Republic which is grown organically and is packaged properly. There is no way that Dominica can compete with the DR when it comes to growing and exporting produce. If you go in a supermarket in St Maarten for example, you will see only a few items that come from Dominica, but the majority of the food comes from the Dominican Republic.

    If the Government of Dominica would export food in refrigerated shipping containers or refrigerated cargo planes, the food will not perish as fast while in the process of being transported.

    • Dubiqois
      June 10, 2010

      Good points. If only we had the means and resources of doing so. We may have to do this incrementally; and it will take a bit of time.

      We will have no choice if we decide to stay afloat in a rapidly changing market.

      • awa wee rex
        June 10, 2010

        Very Good points!! First, we have to remember the farmers do grow the crops but if the relevant measures are not put in place, the quality of produce will not be of a high standard. Secondly, there is an irregular shipping schedule here in Dominica. We need reliable means of exporting our produce/products. A few years ago I was considering investing in agriculture…basically focusing on quality production for regional export and upon consulting someone at a shipping company, I left that office tossing that idea out… they could only give me the schedule for the current month, a new one would be drawn up the next mth, and then a new one for the next, etc… there was no certainty. Therefore, if there is no certainty, produce will be ‘waiting’ to be exported and by the time they arrive at the intended destinations, they would wilt. More investments should be made into cargo ships which can export our products with refrigerated sections for our more perishable items.

  12. Bothsides
    June 10, 2010

    100% Dominican

    I hope we all read what this man wrote. Am sure there are simular centiments shared but this one is on the money. Beware of simular money cravers like chichita and Dole. They will invest us with lab food like they’ve invested their over grown kids who are riddled with obesity related illnesses. Go for the food with dirt on them it only means it came from the same dirt from which WE rise.

    June 9, 2010 • 3:26 pm
    I would like to know which regional head described Dominica’s produce as garbage? Must be one from those islands where they can hardly produce any food themselves and rather than import from the region they import ‘better looking’, genetically modified produce from the US – that, Mr. regional head, is what is garbage. I hope Mr. Walter had the courage to stand up to that regional head and put him in his place. But I seriously doubt that. Instead he comes back home and berates our hard-working farmers. I understand all the concerns about quality and presentation, but the fact is that customers across the region have become so used to the big and seemingly flawless produce from the North American markets, that our organic produce will always be seen as sub-standard. As a Dominican living in another island in the region, I’d give anything to get my hands on some fine Dominican produce – there is absolutely nothing like it! It’s only when you live in other countries you appreciate how good it is. If our produce is garbage, I’d rather eat garbage every day! Because what I see being sold at the farmer’s markets and supermarkets where I live, is worse than garbage. Garbage? He should be happy to see some mud on the yam and dasheen – at least he’d know it wasn’t grown in a lab!

    • awa wee rex
      June 10, 2010

      well said!

  13. Dubiqois
    June 10, 2010

    Do you remember when Martinique custom officials would seize and discard our vendors’ products on the wharfs in Fort-de-France? They treated our people like animals. I witnessed it once, and it was very painful for me to see my people treated so poorly.

    If we intend to export , we must know what the intended recipient’s regulations are so that our products are not disallowed. That is the minister’s responsibility. Is it not?

    I believe it begins with the proper infastructor, education, the right resources, and regulatory policies.

    What are our regulatory standards for agricultural and food products?

    Mr. Minister is stating the obvious. He needs to give us his multi-stage resolution plan for what we already know. He seems to be putting the weight on the farmers and vendors – who have never been educated in the basic agricultural sciences, food preparation (packaging), export/import requirements, etc. Whereas other islands have invested in their farmers and merchants regarding what it takes to sell a product, we may not have made such an investment in our farmers. You can only do what you know.

    Do our regulatory agency give farmers a road map of what is expected on products that are being sold domestically, and those meant for export?

  14. Anonymous
    June 10, 2010

    WELL THEN THE AGRICULTURAL MINISTERS SHOULD TRY TO GHOLD CONFERENCES, TALK SHOWS AND FACE TO FACE TALKS WITH THE FARMERS…ALSO THEY COULD VISIT THE FARMS NOW AND THEN…I AM SURE THEY DNT EVEN KNOW HALF THE FARMS IN DOMINICA..
    WE NEED TO STEP UP CUZ AGRICULTURE IS THE WAY FOR THE FUTURE…WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO KEEP OUR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE ALIVE..PLEASE MINISTERS AND FARMERS FOR THE SAKE OF OUR COUNTRY AND OURSELVS..LET WORK TOGETHER TO BUILD A BIGGER , BETTER, AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY..

  15. athena
    June 10, 2010

    Dear Farmers,

    Please join the Dominican Organic Movement-DOAM! http://www.doamdominica.org #(767) 265-8570
    There is support through DOAM and the United Nations. The United Nations, from 2006-2016, is committed to helping
    Dominican farmers move to organic farming practices.
    DOAM has all the support and help you need.

    It behooves you to change to organic. The fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and defoliants are petroleum based.
    As the price of petroleum rises -so will these products- until the costs becomes prohibted to you.

    If you are open minded and willing to change, NOW is the time to jump on this bandwagon.

    Organic farming practices are self-sustaining and wonderful for the soil, rivers and sea.
    Organic produce remains fresher longer and is healthier.

    Yes, it will be work to change. And change is not easy.
    What I do know…it will be worth it!

    Organic produce will stay fresh longer than chemically grown produce.

    Greeen Acres Organic Farm, Syndicate

  16. only
    June 10, 2010

    One of the problems may lie in the transportation time and means. I have seen good and not so good produce in the market place in DA as well as on other islands. Don’t export herbicide and pesticide laiden produce or try to sell it here either.

  17. HmmHmm
    June 10, 2010

    What can DEXIA do? Ask DEXIA’s”MINISTER’ what he knows about DEXIA?

    The problem lies at the very top.

    STUPES

  18. Chavez Jr.
    June 10, 2010

    Mr. Minister I really think that the Gov. is not doing / investing enough in the Agriculture Industry. Just travelling around the country you can see for yourself. Take a look at our agriculture nursery stations, they nearly don’t exist, what has gone wrong, where are the experts to help guide the farmer in his field. Where are the incentives, who do the farmer turn to ? Is there a really established market. why dont the Gov. or moreso, DEXIA purchase the farmer’s produce and export it. Let’s look into that Mr. Minister.

  19. LovelyDominica
    June 10, 2010

    All the Minister had to say that it was the Antiguan Minister who referred to our produce as garbage. Whilst I support the need for our farmers and hucksters to better package the outbound product…BUT where are the Dexia people who were trained to go out there and support those farmers and hucksters in encouraging them on the best practice and packaging of the goods. All other countries do that and set the standards that must be adhered to. Why do you think that the UK is so hard on our bananas that we export? Because to them all produce have shelf life and presentation is of the utmost importance to generate the revenue. The minister comes out and just put down the farmers…but does he realise that most of the farmers are only familiar with the barter trading skills…they think local so off course for those who are trained to understand and appreciate the regional and international markets the ministry of agriculture should be there to support these people appreciated their produce more and not just see it as a hand to mouth business..Which is what it is really. If you go a farmer of char coals and encourage them on the best way to package that product then you will find that they will make the effort. Growing up I remember going to the garden with my dad and Mr. Edison James who was working with the agriculture department used to visit my dad’s place and give him advice. Where are these kind of people now who had a passion for their work and the people who work hard at the bottom of the ladder.

    • child
      June 10, 2010

      i know .whats the point of hiding him,remember he said that before.

  20. engras
    June 10, 2010

    All you who want to attack the messenger go to the Market and see the quality of some of the produce, Not because you have a BIG pumpkin for example and rats or Agouti have taken a few bites in it you have to bring it to the market tosell and say “is only a little bite it have oui”.tannias,christophines and many more are below standard so stop critizing the Minister and improve your quality.

  21. ruhtra
    June 10, 2010

    DEXIA does not seem to be playing their part in this. Even on the Roseau market which they control, you find sub-standard foods selling at high prices by greedy sellers. This should be stoped by them. They should be teaching farmers how to export their produce because they are the ones who should know how.
    Having said this, the minister is the one giving directives and should be ashamed that he has to repeat these words today.
    This shows that he has not achieved much towards this goal, infact he has achieved nothing atall and he will be leaving office without achieving anything but talk and more talk.

    • way papa
      June 10, 2010

      i take offense at you calling the sellers greedy! how the Hell do you expect them to survive? most of these sellers resell produce that they purchase from farmers…if they buy them at a high price, how in the heck do you expect them to sell it cheap??? the farmers always say costs of production have increased…the poor vendors now have to do the impossible task of seling produce at a higher price in order to make a profit. you can talk because you do not have to wake up at 2 am to go out there to look for produce so you can have your table set up by 5 am and leave the market at 6 pm…you have the audacity to call these people greedy? take a look at yourself…because without even considering why the prices are high, you try to squeeze them to take down the price yet u go to all the supermarkets and buy them at much higher prices. Shut the h*ll up! I am passionate about the market vendors because I have seen what these people go through…so get out of your tiny world…if our people had more compassion, they would support the vendors at the market more… a lot of them go home and cannot even pay their bills because things are getting so hard and the produce are not selling… There are some who are making it big because they have the means and the support, but the average market vendor ( the older woman fighting to send her grand child to school because the parent is “overseas”, the one who does it with pride because he/she loves her job, the ones who are young in the trade because they have been doing it from small and may not be able to afford to go beyond high school) is fighting to make a living just like you and me… blame the system! the vendors prices are high because the farmers sell the produce expensive, the farmers sell the produce expensive because cost of production is high, cost of production is high because the right measures are not in place to alleviate the stress placed on this sector…

      have a little compassion man…the vendors have lives and families just like you do…

  22. Hmmm
    June 9, 2010

    A few things:

    Antigua is describing our pruduce as garbage because we are not importing their onions and carrots. However, Antigua depends HEAVILY on fresh agricultural produce from DOMINICA… I have the facts to prove it.

    Yes, the other islands in the region do produce what we produce, but guess what, there IS STILL A DEMAND for Dominican fresh agricultural produce.

    The farmers cannot miraculously improve on the quality of produce. The DBPL provided fertilizers which were supposedly subsidized by Government; HOWEVER, Government has REFUSED to pay DBPL for the fertilizer…effectively crippling DBPl, and the farmers in turn. As a result, the farmers are not using the proper fertilizer, if any at all since they cannot afford it.

    There is not a single bank in Dominica that is interested in providing loans for agriculture (remember we no longer have green gold) so where are the farmers supposed to get the money to invest in agriculture?

    Government, despite their fancy words, have no interest in agriculture, and as a result, the farmers are left on their own.

    No agricultural loans = no money for production (proper production) = poor farming techniques and practices = inferior goods = garbage = spoiled markets

    BUT, man must leave so until and unless we are banned, such as in St Martin, that’s how its going to be.

    But while the Honourable Minister there bashing farmers, he planning to buy a boat to export to Antigua…PROBABY HE WANTS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LUCRATIVE REGIONAL MARKET. Is not me that say, is Mabel that say that we.

    BUT all jokes aside, the exporters really need to beef up big time on quality and presentation. I saw some Dominican produce in Antigua and I was like, no way should that be allowed to even leave DA.

    Even in the local market too, these people always have rotten fruit selling – really now?

    Re Bureau of Standards – I bought a medication last month at a pharmacy here (all nighter) and not a single word on the leaflet inside was in English. The entire thing is in French…how can these medications be allowed into the island?

  23. Citizen
    June 9, 2010

    Something terribly wrong is happening in Dominica with the political leaders in power. If the Minister of Agriculture for more than five years takes pride in repeating such an insult which is an indictment of his performance and that of his government, then he is a jackass and has no right to be in cabinet.
    Matthew Walter is the biggest disaster that the agriculture industry in Dominica has experienced since Hurricane David.
    When will Skerrit realize that he can do without the incompetence of Walter, but again so far the level of incompetence demonstrated by the entire government is frightening. Skerrit must be cursing himself that Vince and Lorreen are gone, because the government looks like Skerrit alone, surrounded by a group of incompetent parasites.

  24. Tell all
    June 9, 2010
  25. Tell all
    June 9, 2010
  26. texas
    June 9, 2010

    Within small economies of scale there are numerous imbalances to say the least, the buyers expectation is not the only factor that completes the transaction, it is about the opulence and circumstance within the framework on both the seller and the buyer. I currently live in Texas and I knew a lady who had a resturant and most of my freinds would say the same thing, “‘ that she cooks great” but she had poor customer service, what this add to was that her business would eventually shut down because she could not rise to the level of pure customer service, even though she had a great product, in these days and times it is inmumbent on the goods and service suppliers to consider the sophistication of the buyers and attempt to exceed their expectation, and with that said you can also structure the price as well.

  27. Huckster
    June 9, 2010

    Mr Walter,

    You said, “Dominica is yet to take advantage of the lucrative markets out there because we are not organised enough to take advantage of the markets out there. We are crying and lamenting that there are no markets out there but the markets are right there in the region. We have not fully taken advantage of the market situation.”

    Mr Walter, do you realize and remember in 2005 when Leonard “Pappy” Baptist was suggesting on his radio show that the government of Dominica export produce regionally on a large scale? Why is it now that 5 years later the Labour Party finally realizes that Dominica needs to “step up” in agriculture for regional export? 5 years ago Dominica could have diversified produce to be exported regionally since the banana market has been dead. Think about all the money lost in those 5 years, millions!!!!!! How can you say Dominica is not fully prepared to take advantage of the regional market when there is an abundance of land to farm in Dominica? Bottom line is that the techniques of Dominica farmers are primitive, this is why the regional head described Dominica’s produce as garbage with poor presentation. Fruits and vegetables need more than just caca bef to grow.

  28. LCM
    June 9, 2010

    I would put it clear and simple. You cannot leave quality control up to the farmers. It has never worked and will never work. All produce living the country for sale should be inspected and marked worthy for sale according to standards set up by the governing body. It is up to the agriculture, health , and other leaders to determine that.

    Why do you think we had to bring bananas to a boxing plant to be checked all these years. It was simple quality control st up by the Government on the advice of Geest.

    • June 10, 2010

      Good talk. Quality control should be administered by Government leaders and don’t try to blame the farmers.

    • Dubiqois
      June 11, 2010

      You have hit the nail on the head.

  29. CKJAS
    June 9, 2010

    The majority of Dominica’s agricultural produce are grown by persons who have limited appreciation for quality and are of the view that the rest of the world to dam fresh!!!!!

    Because they are narrow minded and not sophisticated far less to be part of the middle class they think everybody else l’homme tierre like them.

    But one cannot blame them totally! Why? Our government and typical politicians lack sophistication, lack class, lack respect for one another, and cannot dress properly – black shoes with brown belt or black belt with brown shoes just to give a typical example.

    Education without pride , training without self upliftment and some “umpth” will result in garbage.

    That must have been some education for the Minister himself.

    makack braw.

  30. farmer
    June 9, 2010

    The Agriculture Health and Food Safety System (AHFSS). This is what we talking bout. But it also sad that our own Dominica Bureau of Standards (DBOS) has the mandate to develop REGIONAL STANDARDS for the export of fresh agricultural produce and we down here in tie what dem statements from a regional delegate.!!!!! But de minister should have really stood up and put de delegate in his place.

  31. Grand Bayrian
    June 9, 2010

    So how Minister Walters letting the Antiguan Minister of Agriculture call Dominican product garbage?.. Thats a slap in your face. Minister Walters you should have asked the Minister to expand on his comment. Why is it our Government Ministers are quick to tell our people what to do, and yet, they can’t tell off thier fellow Ministers in the region. Good representation of Dominica LOL.

  32. June 9, 2010

    COA COA ME GUASH WHAT NEXT

  33. Under The Mango- Vieille Case
    June 9, 2010

    That’s a serious slap in our face. The Ministries of Agriculture and Trade need to set their ministeries in order to correct the problems that have caused such statements to be made about our products.

    There is a Bureau of Standards in Dominica, what are they doing? Shouldn’t that be one of their functions, to set standrards for produce that we export as well as seeing that imports meet our standards?.

    We will always have problems with our produce because we either don’t have have standards or those we have are far below standards that exist regionally or internationally. When this happens, we either will be providing substandard quality products to export markets or we will be accerpting into our markets , poor quality products that are unfit for other markets.

    So in essence we will either become a dumping ground for inferior quality goods or we will be -as was said- exporting garbage.

    Sad to say but quality control is seriously lacking in Dominica. Just look at what happens at the local market. You buy fruits, vegetables and ground provisions and they are full of dirt. No effort is made to clean far less sanitize produce offered for sale. Dominica has so much water.

    Another thing I see that is very common in Dominica is the sale of home-made products, that have no labelling and are poorly presented but they find themselves on Supermarket shelves. Many of these products are not subjected to any quality monitoring or control by the health authorities and many of them are produced under less than hygienic conditions.

    The food safety and quality laws must be revisited and food standards must be developed to ensure that a high level of safety and quality is obtained with foods meant particularly for the exchange market.

    I would suggest that government set up a special agency ( comparable to the USFDA) comprising officials from the Bureau of Standards, the Department of Environmental Health, the Produce Chemist Laboratory and DEXIA to coordinate implement and enforce the monitoring and control of quality of all goods for export as well as goods imported into the country.

  34. ” Walter says Dominica is not fully prepared to take advantage of the regional market. Walter says Dominica is not fully prepared to take advantage of the regional market.”

    This guy Walter is full of baloney!

    I do not wish to make it appear as if I do not like this man, first of all I do not know him, nor does his name ring a bell. I am however, concern about his obsession, with bananas, and agriculture production in our country, in this modern day, and time.

    It is an insult for this man to continue the running off of his mouth talking about:

    ” Dominica is not fully prepared to take advantage of the regional market. ”

    Someone need to ask this minister which or what regional market is he babbling about. When we are talking regional, we are talking about Jamaica, in the North, to Guyana, in South America, to the South. Just incase Walters does not know, I shall inform him that they grow a hole lot more bananas, plantains, tanya, and yams than we do in Dominica, on some of the regional islands.

    Everything we produce, St. Vincent, Grenada, and St. Lucia, produce the same in abundance, I would like him to visit Guyana, and he will find agricultural products there, and he can return home with a bag of rice from Guyana also.

    As a matter of fact, I will refer him to a calypso composed, and sang by the Mighty Sparrow, (Francisco Slinger), in the 1960’s entitled ” B.G Plantain.”

    Remember:

    ” one B. G plantain does full-up she pot, so satisfying especially when hot, lord knows ah suffering since they ban B. G plantain, it too much to bear, doctor, you too unfair, I will do anything to taste a B. G plantain; that was a message to the late Dr. Erick William.

    So, no need to try to sell agricultural products, to people who produce more than we do. The Venezuelans have basically the same that we have.

    So where is this great regional market that this guy is talking about. Antigua, and Barbados has been two of the islands in the Caribbean where our hucksters traded for years, long before many of us were born.

    All of this guy hype with his agricultural thing, is nothing more than a phenomenon he found himself caught into, and with nothing else to babble about he is running off his mouth.

    Take advantage of what?

    Trinidad, and Barbados, also produce agricultural produce also, in the Village, of Sweets, Leberta, and Bendals, in Antigua, people plant yams, potato, and other ground provisions

    This man is walking while in realm sleep, and mind you for those who do not understand what is realm sleep, let it be known, that it is when you are in the deepest form of sleep, you have gone beyond the point of dreaming, and that’s where he exists.

    Tell us when you hope to commence the industrialization revolution in our country, that’s what most of us would like to hear about, Mr. Minister!

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • dominican
      June 9, 2010

      You fool!

      He is the minister of agriculture, what else to do you want him to talk about?

      You mentioned a few other islands that also produce agricultural products but what about the others, such as: BVI; USVI; Montserrat; St. Kitts& Nevis; St. Maarten &other Netherland Antilles, Gaudeloupe; and Martinique.

      All of these depend somewhat on our agricultural produce already, thats why they can call it garbage or sub-standard.There’s even now a boat every week going to Trinidad from Dominica, and Trinidad is very capable of producing there own agricultural produce, they’ve just put it aside as you want us to do, and now food security is becoming an issue.

      What we have to do is step our game up, and utilise those market effectively by beefing up production and quality. we need to do this soon as possible, as these islands might quickly look to other sources for the produce we supply, or even with today’s technology, produce some of the goods themselves.

      For the life of me I don’t understand why you are so negative? The agricultural industry can exist apart from what ever other industry you feel should be taking hold.

      You speak of industrial revolution, but what natural resources do we have?

      Let us develop and take full advantage of what we do have before we move to other seemingly lucrative economic areas. You must creep before you can walk.

      I think it’s people with your mentality that has kept us back for so long…

      • driver
        June 9, 2010

        I agree with Dominican, on most levels. I am big on pushing for more industrialization in Dominica, but if we are doing it through the service industry alone we might not make it the right way. Dominica is blessed and has always been blessed. We can see the richness in our soils. I personally believe that we should be producing much much more in Dominica. We seem to produce to little produce that vendors feel compelled to sell them even if they are sub standard or not and at rediculous prices. I go to the market and cannot even buy a head of lettuce or a few bananas. We lack variety, pleasantness, presentation, quality etc. and trust me i am ashamed to even say that but is true.

      • Hahahahahahahahahahahahah!

        Well, if I can’t take it, then I should not dish it out; okay, accepting that I am a fool, I am not sure about the present, however, prior to the eruption, of the Volcano on the island of Montserrat, there were farmers who brought their agricultural products from Montserrat, to Antigua, and sold in the market.

        And believe you me, the agricultural products they brought were the same as we produced in Dominica, and since the entire island of Montserrat, was not engulfed and burn to nothing, I am sure there are still some edible land left on the island, which can be utilized for farming, besides the population of Montserrat is so small at the moment, the market there would not help the Brown Belt Karate, Kong-fu kid, Walter very much.

        Maybe I am stupid, but my aunt once lived at a place called Urtlese Estate in St. Kitts, and I know for certain they indulge in the planting of agricultural produce there, along with their main crop sugar cane.

        I do not know if ( Urtlese) is spelt correctly, but maybe Mr. Minister, brown belt, and black shoe, I hear may want check that out and see if I am correct with spelling, anyway, getting seriously about it, since all of the islands do some sort of agricultural farming, were are we going to find the market to sustain all of the people in Dominica Walter’s want to yoke with the burden of producing all of this agricultural products he hope will be produced.

        I submitted the following a few days ago, and I will submit it again only as a reminder to the Kong-fu kid, that we in Dominica no longer exists in the fourteenth, and eighteenth century:

        The development of sociological thinking began, and throughout history, social philosophers and religious authorities have made countless observation about human behavior. However, the idea of observing how people lived, to find out what they thought, and doing so in a systematic manner that could be verified did not take hold until the nineteenth century, and the social upheaval brought about by industrialization, and urbanization.

        Industrialization is the process by which societies are transformed from dependence on agriculture, and handmade products to an emphasis on manufacturing and related industries.

        This process occurred first during the Industrial Revolution in Britain between 1760 and 1850 and soon was repeated throughout Western Europe. By the mid-nineteenth century, industrialization was well on the way in the United States.

        Massive economic, technological, and social changes occurred as machine technology, and the factory system shifted the economic base of these nations from agriculture to manufacturing. A new social class of industrialists emerged in textiles, iron, and smelting, and related industries. Many people who had labored on the land were forced to leave their tightly knit rural communities, and sacrifice well-defined social relationships to seek employment as factory workers in emerging cities, which became the centers of work.

        Shall I focus on Urbanization?

        I’ll touch on that briefly:

        Although cities existed long before the Industrial Revolution, the development of the factory system led to a rapid increase in both the number of cities, and the size of their populations. People from very diverse backgrounds worked together in the same factory: (and I think I have given enough on the subject, so I’ll refrain elaborating on that), however, coming from this fool, I know it would not make much sense, so I would like to end by saying, when one speaks of the industrialization of a country, they are not talking about the building of ” factory’s alone.”

        And certainly, I do not condone the total destruction of our agricultural land and plantations, since some of the staples we need to sustain life will be needed, will be produced on some portion of farm land.

        All I am saying is that it is time we move on to something else, agriculture will not cut the bacon, if it could the Industrialization Revolution would not have taken place hundreds of years ago in the developed nations of the world.

        Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

      • ” You speak of industrial revolution, but what natural resources do we have? ”

        I so fool, I forgot to respond to this one.

        All natural resources we do not need to have. I.E. there is no crude oil found on the island of St. Croix, yet there is an oil refinery on the island.

        There was a time when they manufactured and assembled small cars, and refrigerators on the island of Antigua, yet there they do not have the natural resources to facilitate that.

        On the island of St. Kitts they once produce Curtis Matthies Television, yet they do not have the natural resources to produce television, and radios.

        There is a Chrysler Motor Company in Trinidad manufacturing Cars, Trinidad do not have the natural resources to produce Cars, okay, check it out.

        I had an electronic business on the island of Antigua, I built Stereo Amplifiers, Transformers, and Radios, and sold them, yet the material used in the manufacturing of the components I need are not found natural on the island of Antigua.

        Food for thought!

        Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  35. 100% Dominican
    June 9, 2010

    I would like to know which regional head described Dominica’s produce as garbage? Must be one from those islands where they can hardly produce any food themselves and rather than import from the region they import ‘better looking’, genetically modified produce from the US – that, Mr. regional head, is what is garbage. I hope Mr. Walter had the courage to stand up to that regional head and put him in his place. But I seriously doubt that. Instead he comes back home and berates our hard-working farmers. I understand all the concerns about quality and presentation, but the fact is that customers across the region have become so used to the big and seemingly flawless produce from the North American markets, that our organic produce will always be seen as sub-standard. As a Dominican living in another island in the region, I’d give anything to get my hands on some fine Dominican produce – there is absolutely nothing like it! It’s only when you live in other countries you appreciate how good it is. If our produce is garbage, I’d rather eat garbage every day! Because what I see being sold at the farmer’s markets and supermarkets where I live, is worse than garbage. Garbage? He should be happy to see some mud on the yam and dasheen – at least he’d know it wasn’t grown in a lab!

  36. implications of French rule?
    June 9, 2010

    because the farmers are ministers

  37. Homeboy
    June 9, 2010

    This must be the Antiguan delegate. DNO had a prior story bout that. While the hungry Antiguans have no right to generalize about Dominica’s produce let me digress and address the ofiicial only as the hungry Antiguan.
    Sir your comment though insensitive will be heeded and DEXIA and the huckster association will address the state of Dominica’s life sustaining produce to your shores, which I am inclined to say has sustained the stomachs of your population.

    • wesleyman
      June 9, 2010

      Nonesense, this is not charity, does that mean if I ham hungry and go to the butcher, he has the right to give me scraps even if I am paying for it? my understanding is that this govt. has been in power for some 10 years now, and it takes a regional delegate to describe the produce as garbage for the minister to now understand that we need to unite and step up the quality of the exports. Just because Dominicans will accept anything based on who is feeding it to them, you are now understanding that people demand quality for their hard earned money. Make no excuses, the people may be hungry, but they know quality and if you dont give it to them, they will import it from south america, where the is quality control.

    • Dominica
      June 9, 2010

      Homeboy,

      It is evident that you do not understand the relationship between the buyer and supplier. The supplier has to step up to the plate to deliver products/services that meet or even exceed the expectations of the buyer. Otherwise the buyer will look somewhere else.

      This is nothing personal, just business 101.

      • CI
        June 9, 2010

        I agree with the need to better maintain the relationship between the supplier and the buyer. Personally, I love fruits and vegetables; however, I am very particular when purchasing produce, I take the time to pick and choose the best that’s available to me.

        Farmers must be more considerate when packaging and marketing their produce ….. it is the only way to remain competitive with other countries.

        Instead of getting upset, think of ways in which you can better protect and market your produce to maximize the best financial returns for your hard work…. and it’s hard work, especially planting and harvesting bananas.

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