Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Johnson Drigo, has advised farmers to seek the assistance of the extension offices within their zones as they recover from the ravages of Tropical Storm Erika.
Drigo was addressing a handing over ceremony of agricultural contributions to the Toloma Women in Action Group of Delices held at the Botanical Gardens earlier this week.
“Coming out of the post-Erika period, we are looking at doing things better,” he stated. “So I want all of our farmers to go to their extension offices within their zones and use the wealth of knowledge that exists within the structures, invite the extensions to your farms. Everybody is presently on a rapid replanting programme, you cannot do it alone, you need the support of the extension officers of your area.”
He stated farmers should not wait for extension officers to come to them.
“Go to the offices and invite them to your farms,” he noted.
Drigo said that in every community a well-structured farmers’ group, working within the zones of their area, is needed.
He also encouraged the women farming community of Dominica to establish groups in their areas.
“It would be nice if we could have a strong vegetable farmers group of women coming from the valley,” he opined.
He noted that the government is preparing to form a group of women farmers concentrating on cassava and potatoes in the Good Hope, San Sauveur and Petite Soufriere area.
“Government will be able to assist these groups better if they are well structured,” he explained. “I am not talking about cooperatives, I am talking about farmers group with an executive where they meet and discuss their challenges.”
Additionally, he said, the government has approved $300,000 to assist fishermen who were affected by Tropical Storm Erika.
“Our hope is that before the week is over we can start paying this contribution to some of these farmers to get them back into the waters,” he stated.
Meantime Parliamentary Representative for the La Plaine constituency, Petter Saint Jean, said agriculture still remains one of the key pillars for Dominica’s development, pointing to the importance of agro-processing.
“Importantly agro-processing must be viewed seriously by all those involved in the agriculture industry,” he noted. “And that is why I believe that the Delices Toloma Women in Action has taken this thing one notch further.
The contribution to the Toloma Women in Action Group of Delices was made available by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).