Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Johnson Drigo, has stressed the importance of agriculture in schools saying his ministry has always viewed as a “bedrock from which our agriculture stems.”
Drigo was speaking during a presentation of supplies and supplies to the tune of E.C. $174,160.52 to the Ministry of Agriculture under the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) to 17 schools on Monday.
The handing over ceremony took place at the Citrus Certification Facility at the Botanical Gardens.
“We will not have a future in the sector if we do not train our young ones in things of agriculture. This concerted effort is part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ strategic agenda and embedded in our draft agriculture policy,” Drigo said.
According to him, farming needs to be continued by “ young vibrant farmers,” and focus must be placed on local production and not imports.
“Our food supplies and food security is our responsibility. Our local production must be guaranteed from Dominican farms. We cannot put other countries on our table as a first priority,” he said.
Douglas affirmed that “agriculture should not be the bastard child” in Dominica.
“It should be the poster child on our agenda. It is time to put it in its rightful place, to give it the prominence it deserves and not hidden away in the closet,” he said.
Minster for Education and Human Resource Development Peter Saint Jean has stated that agriculture remains a “ critical part of Dominica’s economic development,” and that it is very important.
“Over the recent past, the process of socialization of our young people has been such that we have led them away from what I consider to be, the most important thing in life, agriculture being one of them,” he said.
He also said that the issue of food security must be taken seriously by all.
“Agriculture will continue to be with us for a very long time and will continue to generate much-needed revenue. It is important for us to recognize that there has to be a rekindling of interest in the agricultural sector, not only by farmers in the rural areas but by our young people,” Saint Jean remarked.
National Authorizing Officer for the European Development Fund, Carleen Roberts hopes that the BAM support will “broaden perspective on production, encourage to make career choices, and create champions within the communities.”
“One of the key areas of the BAM is capacity building in the agricultural sector, starting at an early age. Therefore BAM has contributed to improving agricultural programs in order to enhance the subject area and make it more attractive as a viable career at various levels,” she remarked.
She hopes that all the young beneficiaries of the BAM support will show “very clearly” that the youth is interested in agriculture.
The educational institutions which benefited from the donation are Massacre Primary, Christian Union Primary, St. Luke’s Primary, Convent Prep, St. Martin Primary, Isaiah Thomas Secondary School, and the Dominica Community High school. They received agricultural materials such as spades, hand tools, seeds, piglets and chicks.