Drigo vows to clamp down on delinquent farmers

Drigo said many farmers have cheated the state
Drigo said many farmers have cheated the state

Agriculture Minister Johnson Drigo has vowed to discontinue a trend which he said currently exist where a number of farmers apply for farming assistance under false pretences and never repay.

He said many have cheated the state and he will ensure that this will come to a halt during his tenure as the Minister of Agriculture.

“A number of our farmers have received assistance from the government in a revolving fund process and refuse to contribute to this fund,” Drigo said. “They have taken thousands of dollars and some have left the state, some have spent the money in other things not relating to the farming sector.”

He remarked that, surprisingly, many of these delinquent farmers who top the list are those he labeled as “the big mouths” and “loud talkers.”

“This cannot continue and I will ensure that it doesn’t continue under my ministry,” Drigo vowed.

As a consequence, farmers who wants to borrow funds must apply through the Agricultural and Development Bank (AID) Bank.

“The AID Bank, as we speak, is creating a facility to assist farmers who wants to go into agriculture,” he pointed out. “The funds are available but you will get it through the bank structure to ensure that you are committed to repaying…”

He said the funds will be ‘soft loans.’

Drigo added that the government will also continue to assist farmers through the Agriculture Investment Program (AIP).

“We realize that farmers will definitely need capital going forward but government has to take measures to ensure that funds are available for farming goes into farming and that’s why it might be a little difficult in accessing funds,” he explained. “But for sure we have given millions of dollars in the farming sectors, based on reports that I have a lot of the farmers never made one cent contribution back.”

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health announced that they are getting tough on medical bills adding that while persons seeking medical attention will not be denied because of their inability to pay, those who are able to, will be required to pay up.

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  1. ISIS
    May 21, 2015

    Take a page of Ian pinard’s book pls, not when stones are flying and unrest is at it’s highest peak……….. good move Honorable drigo stay indoors in a safe place

  2. Shameless
    May 19, 2015

    :lol: :lol: :lol: I like that for a change. Those Massacre boys that received truck loads of fertilizer before election and now selling it to farmers were not farmers or UWP supporters and they did NOT receive by false pretense. IT WAS GIVEN TO THEM FOR THEIR SUPPORT WHILE FARMERS WERE BEGGING. They are hard core DLP who all have fertilizer stored under their houses right now selling like sugar to the highest bidder (Genuine Farmer).

    The administration knew all along so what John-dont -know talking about is beyond me. He will NOT say that but will attack the farmer who got money and can’t afford to pay because there is no market for his goods. Of course he has to leave island and seek employment otherwise to maintain his family. The news media need to go to Massacre and C/Bruce and they will know exactly what I am talking about. However, BRAVO for correcting a wilful wrong of the DLP.

    Assertive, NOT Aggressive! :twisted:

    • Farmer's son
      May 21, 2015

      At least we know that Drigo is still alive. All over the island farmers are asking the same question ,” Where is the Minister of Agriculture”? So now he comes out of hiding to tell us that he is going to get tough with delinquent farmers. What a joke!

      Before the election the Ministry was under orders to dole out the money as well as the fertilizer that we received from Morocco. With so much freeness and ‘soft loans’ going around most of the red shirt farmers never expected to repay the money as it was so easy to get the money.
      Don’t blame the farmers, blame the system!

      All agricultural lending should be handled through the AID Bank and those unable to make regular payments can work with the bank to get easier terms on their loans.

  3. The Facts
    May 19, 2015

    Money should not be loaned to people without requesting a statement on how the money was spent. This should be expected either quarterly or every six months or within a year. At the time the transaction is conducted, this should be relayed to them in writing as part of the loan agreement.
    Make them aware that they will be expected to present a progress report of their farming efforts. This will enable them to be responsible in spending the money wisely and for the intended purpose.
    Now that the AID Bank will be conducting the transaction with the farmers, they will be expected to repay the loan commencing within a certain period, as stipulated by the Bank. This will encourage them to farm, to grow fruits and vegetables for sale in order to raise funds to repay the loan.

  4. May 19, 2015

    Drigo, you missing out on the key part of Agriculture, Feederroads, Fiks the feederoads

  5. truth
    May 19, 2015

    Well Mr Drigo you can talk now, where were you when the farmers from Salisbury were asking for your presence to discuss what you are saying now. Your mouth was shut and disregarded the farmers instead police officers were sent. You need to be sincere .
    The farmers worth more than this, call a spade a spade,give the fertilizer to farmers no matter blue or red supporters and not laborites some were not farmers.you know what i am talking about

    • The Facts
      May 19, 2015

      When people are in a fighting spirit and mood, it is impossible to discuss anything with them. The farmers need to cool down and only then could a realistic discussion take place.
      Hope they were not those who received loans from the government for farming and did not pay back. You can call them dishonest people.

  6. May 19, 2015

    Mr. Minister you are within your rights to go after the delinquent farmers. No doubt that the practices which you have described cannot be allow to continue,but with due respect to you sir, in my eyes you are one of the biggest big mouths and loud talkers .The agricultural sector is not only in a crisis but is in a shambles. The few delinquents should not become a scapegoat for any in competencies, ineptitude and a perceived deliberate dismantling of the sector. Mr. Minister, what I would like to suggest ,come up with program mes that would give incentives which would motivate them to go back to the farm. It is now a national & a monumental challenge to renew the industry once again and not forgetting the feeder roads network.

  7. john
    May 19, 2015

    Where is Telemaque he sound like a smart guy why don’t he tell us what to do to solve the country he is telling us whst wr are not doing, at least I am trying to solve problems, mandate is not to bad , the rest of the crowd have to do better come up with good ideas forget red and blue for one month let solve problems you guys are smart you are dominicans maroons

  8. john
    May 19, 2015

    If we had thinking politicians and thinking builders , the builders not the government would build 20 Vilars- all over dominica we could employ more than 500 people. The money would come from the credit union if we stop sending our money to the cubans in miami. Tell skerritt no more foreign hotels we want only v illars that we can own and rent them to rich people. Do wr have any one in Roseau who understand finance or private equity what are we doing, talking who have the right to eat foreign foods? Where are the people who went to college for finance you need them to teach you how you raise money , all we talk about is blue and red clinic are we still living in the British days can any body hear me

  9. john
    May 19, 2015

    The way you people talk it looks like skerritt and Drigo owns the country? Who gave it to them , do you all people have Lawyers in the Blue party, I just don’t understand , do you have an attorney general, do any one understand how the system works, only Skerritt its very sad what is Linton doing in the house. I have a smart Lawers friend who is red that can help you. You people are power less

  10. john
    May 19, 2015

    Fourchette’ Drigo snd Skerritt is listening now because of what we are saying and doing , in the past all we do is talk we don’t tell them the way they hsve to run our country, some of us are blue and some of us are red. I Love Linton and I Love Skerritt and I love dominica too. I guy say we get it to talk to much we are so behind no can can talk to much . Wr have been talking and no one is listening because we don’t know what our rights is. Skerritt and Drigo works for you if they only give money to red , then all the Lawyers who are blue are stupid people leading stupid people. I personally don’t think so. Wake up and know yourrights you people say I am blowing hot air you need people with a different voice. Stop sending your money to miami keep it to build your country.

  11. bigsexy
    May 19, 2015
  12. john
    May 19, 2015

    This guy who say I am blowing hot air I would like to invite him to my farm to show him how I started and what my farm looks like now, and show him my credit union book kill a pig and take a swim in the river so we can have a good talk I like him he is a respected smart man he is listing. I am going to give him an example, there is a feller from st Joseph who lives in the virgin islands who is a builder building expensive houses for rich white people, his name is pierce he build a 5000 square feet house in morn Daniel he told me it is for rent I want $10.000. Us a month he have one in Roseau , he told if I can build it for a white man why can’t I build one for me . In thr virgin islands the white man build and rent easy the white boys do the same thing in st barts. Singapore does the same wr start where ever wr can stop saying we are poor we have brains stop building churches they do not create jobs

  13. JoJo
    May 19, 2015

    Mr. Drigo, where were you last monday 11 May when the farming community of Salisbury needed you? No sign or sound from you then but now, you are making a big noise from behind your desk? I am very disappointed in you so far. Take a leaf out of the book of Ian Pinard, your colleague, at least he has begun to put his money where his mouth is.

    May 19, 2015

    drigo I guess you have to hunt down all owing laborite because is they who received money from the aid bank, you forget everything nowadays especially in dominica have to be approved by labourite appointed hence men

    • The Facts
      May 19, 2015

      Now it will be approved by the AID Bank and everyone who benefited, not only the Labourites, will have to repay the Bank or else. This is one way of handling the big mouths that receive help but are ungrateful, spewing hatred against the government.

  15. Titiwi
    May 19, 2015

    Can’t believe what I’m hearing. All before the election your party/government was handing out goodies to make sure people voted for you. I personally know people, who received fertilizer, which they had not use for but sold it on. Same thing happened with building materials, especially plywood and galvanized roofing sheets. And who received duty -free’ vehicles mr. Drigo? You had best keep quiet and get on with what you are paid to do.

  16. Marie - Anette Price
    May 19, 2015

    Mr. Parl Rep, Well said! There are too many dishonest people in this country. Those who really deserved the money did not get because they are labelled anti – labourite. That should not be so. Give help where help is due.

  17. Lang Mama
    May 19, 2015

    It is foolish and immature to use the “loud Mouth” farmers as a back board for inefficiency. First off the number of loud mouth farmers in Dominica are just a handful. In fact the outspoken farmers are those on Q95 and less than 5 callers to Q95. Now let’s compare the delinquent farmers who a great number of them had to go through a Labor Party screening process. No doubt I have examples of personal testimonies. Party supporters with nothing to substantiate their application for farm input and subsidiaries. Typical example there were many non farmers selling government fertilizer.
    Nonetheless it is how things are done in our little mind environment. Only partisan mules will buy into this smoke screen that it is the loud mouth farmers that is prime culprit.

  18. mandate 2 mismanage
    May 19, 2015

    Damn…so the day of DLP freeness is over? If you listen carefully you’ll realize they are now trying to point the fingers on the recipients of gov’t services after they turned a blind eye and even encouraged this sort of dependency for years and years.

    When concerns about sustainability were raised, all sorts of excuses were provided, now all departments are suffering, no money to cover basic services and the passport money must repay all the bajan, trini, and chinese vendors/entertainers that secured the election win…nothing left for red clinic, main hospital, or aid for farmers.

    In the meantime, lets not focus on that. Lets denigrate Lennox Linton for failing to join the gang in wasting gov’t money paying people for a job undone. Or lets congratulate Domlec and Credit unions for superior profits. Remember as the poor gets poor…the wealth is transferred to a VERY VERY small few. Eventually life becomes unbearable and the poor strikes back. Just ask Venezuela!

  19. Francisco Telemaque
    May 19, 2015

    If someone obtains a loan and does not repay the loan if the can afford to pay is indeed stealing; however, if someone is in a position such as government, and that government official gives a contract to someone and over paid the contractor, who in return gives the politician a kickback in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars, that is also stealing.

    Whereas it is possible for the farmer to become delinquent, due to fail crops, and in most cases affected by bad weather, such as hurricane, that can be excusable, and should be written off. In any event the farmer who fraudulently gets a loan, and a politician who fleeces the government are both thieves!

    If I stole one cent, and you stole a hundred dollars, we are both thieves, the only difference is I chose to steal one cent, whereas you chose to steal a hundred dollars, but we are one of the same! Government ministers set the example; the rest of the country follows!

  20. Tampa
    May 19, 2015

    But Mr. Drigo, I am sure that you know that these grants that were given were based on party support and not on genuine need. You cannot cultivate a mentality whereby you as a government make people dependent on you and now that things are out of hand you want to turn around and complain.
    Now that you say that this will change I hope that there is the required extension services to ensure that this approach works. And please do not let politics interfere in the revival of such an important sector. Can you guarantee that? If you can’t, it will fail again.

  21. john
    May 19, 2015

    We as a people have to ask what inspires us , Linton inspire me his ancestors supply Dominica with most of the food we eat in Roseau. What we learn at the university of the westindes is most of the great men who lived on the planet is people like Henry the eight and shakespear. We in the caribean as black teachers teachers teach our children the same thing. When we go and study in the us they teach us about corn beef and sardine and corn flakes. Every where we go and study they teach us about their system what is good to eat and how to work for them to get them rich. They teach you how to turn on each other. It is so insane you send all your money to eat the food they teach you in college. They told you coconut is no good you did not research nothing. You must have purpose on this plannet you have very little you are still confused from the British if you don’t under stand the trick you will die poor begging

  22. john
    May 19, 2015

    Thank you mr johnson these things must be stopped if we have to move forward and get out of poverty. They don’t understand short term gains keep us in poverty. We need a lot of education in the villages. If we teach our people and do it right it will take time but it can be done. We all must learn to stop begging and getting over on peanuts , that’s a bad mind set we picked up from the British. Some one have to feed us and take care of us. It is not easy we must tell the people the truth over and over again. Or else we will remain poor we have good soil and water we just have to know what to do with it.

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