A number of farmers on island will benefit from the donations of 850 Field Crates made available under the Agriculture Policy Programme (APP) for improvement of their marketing capacities.
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), as the executing agency for the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Agriculture Policy Programme (APP) has been providing support to Dominica in the area of value-added initiatives.
In this regard, farmers who are affiliated to the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) and rural women producers have received assistance in improving their marketing capacities.
“We will be handing over 850 multi-crates or field crates to farmers,” Technical Specialist of IICA to Dominica, Kent Coipel said while addressing a handing over ceremony held at Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) Multi-purpose Pack-house in Goodwill on Friday. “These field crates represent one tangible measure on how we can improve our practises and productivity and take to market products that are comparable in quality in any part of the world.”
He continued, “We expect that our farmers who are fortunate to receive these crates from the APP project will make full use of the benefits to be derived and experience a reduction in waste and loss arising from problems in handling and transport their fresh produce from the farm to the pack-house to the market.”
Additionally, he said, in some of these activities IICA and its partners work closely with, as well as working with local experts at DEXIA, Bureau of Standards, Division of Agriculture to bring one clear message that access to the market requires success in improving fresh produce handling in meeting food safety and quality standards among others.
Meantime, Agriculture Minister Johnson Drigo said the government of Dominica has demonstrated a keen interest revitalizing the country’s agricultural sector and food system.
“This is directly aligned to the overall mission of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries,” he stated. “Our mission is to enhance food security, growth and development of the agricultural sector through the sustainable utilization of human, natural and other resources. Specifically the ministry intends to promote sustainable growth and development of the sector, enhance the enabling environment for investment in agriculture, encourage sustainable use of natural resources and improve food security in furtherance of this mission.”
Drigo said he is heartened to know that DEXIA will receive crates as the agency plays an important role, working directly with farmers and exporters to achieve the ministry’s export development thrust.
He encourages all stakeholders and beneficiaries to utilize the training, equipment and other benefits received towards the revitalization of the agricultural sector and Dominica’s economy as a whole.
“I wish all of you who will be receiving these crates all the best, we expect you to intensify your effort on the farm and the end result is to ensure that we have safer products, not only for the local markets, but also for the expanding export market,” he noted.