Fontaine wants more emphasis on agriculture


Dominica-born International Monetary Fund Economist Dr. Thomson Fontaine says enough emphasis is not being placed on the agricultural sector.

Fontaine, who is currently in Dominica to conduct a seminar on the importance of agriculture to the nation’s development, says there is still hope for the sector.

He pointed out that many persons have left the sector, which he describes as “sad”.

According to him, more than 70 percent of Dominica is rural “meaning that we depend on agriculture in some form, so what we need to focus on is how we can bring it back. A critical area of that is agro-processing”.

Fontaine said further that if agriculture is given the level of attention that it deserves, it will revert into what is originally was “the driving force of the economy”.

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  1. de caribbean change, BBA, MBA, CPA
    February 9, 2011

    You should have come back home longtime and do just that in Grand Fond. Enjoying good life in DC and telling people by phone or by article what to do just does not work. Be a physical part of it, my friend. That is not a man.

  2. Observer
    February 9, 2011

    Come on people!

    A tree was not born a tree. It was first just a seed that grew into a tree. Dr. Fontaine is trying to plant a seed, we can not expect him to know everything about what is needed for the tree to grow strong.

    This is where we all have to come in. Those of us with the expertise in other areas, can be called apon to to assist to ensuring growth.

    Why are we Dominicans so lazy! We are all responsible for the fate of our country. So if you know something that can help, criticise constructively.

  3. Zandoli
    February 9, 2011

    Positively Green, Sustainable and Dominican;

    I wholeheartedly agree with the statements of Dr. Thomson Fountaine. By the grace of God, vision and some much needed hands and shoulders to the wheel; Dominica will be resuscitated from this dire economic situation.

    Agricultural focus with agro-processing and agro-tourism in mind, which meets international standards and hinges on capturing niche markets in the developed world, will be the key to burgeoning levels of economic growth and prosperity, only dreamt by the founders of our young republic.

    In order to achieve this; political will, innovation, technology and investment climate, must work in a seamless contrast, while fostering the collective enterprise through which all Dominicans; young and old, rich and poor, educated and less educated, can contribute, aspire and achieve.

    In the 21 Century, Dominica’s strength will be measured by its ability to educate, innovate, protect, and facilitate its most important resouces – its people, land and water.

    I am willing to take questions now….lol

    Passionately Dominican

  4. Not an Economist!
    February 9, 2011

    I am of the view that, at this level of training and working with the IMF, Dr. Fountaine hopefully understands teh concept of Development ,especially from the perspective of a small island economy. The ramifications of and for development is not as easy as he puts it, and certainly not from the reach of a microphone in a one off patriotic’ outburst.

    If he understands the issues surrounding agricultural development he should not think that it is as simple as he puts it. That is where he lacks honesty. He hints at agro-processing as a key to agricultural development but fails to outline the many, many, many other factors that can bring about that development.

    Agro-processing? Does he not understand the ideas behind ‘econmies of scale’? Did he explain that to the people of in his quest for enlightenment on quick fix and ‘spur of the moment’ development notions?

    Development certainly does not fall from the sky and all the neccessary components for that development must be in place, including an enlightened populace. Giving people the honest concepts on ownership of that process and not lofty ideals that will only bring pipe dreams to them.

    Mr. Fountaine should now really roll up his sleeves and back his lofty ideals with action and come among his people and help them realize that development. He should come to Grand Fond learn and really understand their reality, where ‘the rubber meets the raod’ for them and then forge a way forward.

    What Dr. Fountaine, the astute econmist who works with IMF, should do is really understand develoment especially, agricultural development in the context of developing countries and their economies and not paint to us, the rural people who are far removed from metropolitan environment, that picture of simple ‘deliverance’.

    That panel discussion in Grand Fond, which had all the trademarks of another ‘people’s parliament’ is not needed. What is really needed is the idea we cannot leave our farm because Fountaine sees no way forward in our present development agenda trajectory. What he needs to tell our Grand Fond people is that he really does not have a ‘quick fix’ but that we need to keep our hands on the plough, even for the future of our children.

    Now that would be a start!

  5. Hugo Grotius
    February 9, 2011

    Fontaine i disagree. Agriculture cannot be the sole driver for an economy, the problem you face is that it is difficult to let people who are indoctrinated in farming diversify elsewhere, however other countries have done it and it is not impossible.
    Fontaine you must first start with our banana republic currency, the very foundation of our economy, your views are not new, and maybe that is the problem, when 80% of our people speak the same way it means no one is thinking!

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