Gov’t invests $1M for banana sector development initiative

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (left) as he officially hands over a cheque of $1million to Chairman of the AID Bank.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who also holds the portfolios of Minister of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Information Technology, today honored government’s commitment of a $1-million grant to the Banana Recovery and Sustainability Plan submitted by the Dominica Banana Producers Limited (DBPL) and Dominica National Fairtrade Organization.

The funds were handed over to the chairman of the Agriculture Industrial and Development (AID) Bank. The bank will facilitate the disbursement of the funds and the recovery of the 50 percent required return. The bank will not handle the approval of the assistance packages.

Forty-eight percent or 161 of the island’s best banana producing farmers will have access to the money through a 50% loan – 50% grant undertaking, which will see government in the form of a grant matching whatever a farmer borrows.

The money is intended for the best banana producers who have remained in the industry and who government feels will best utilize the support to increase production and to meet the quality and quantity demanded by the Fairtrade and regional markets.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Samuel Carrette (left) and AID Bank Executive Manager Corporate Affairs, as they sign the contract this morning.

Agriculture Minister Mathew J. Walter announced that his Ministry in collaboration with the Dominica National Fairtrade Organization and DAPEX (formerly DBPL) has put together a technical team that will approve the assistance package for targeted farmers.

“The team will first convene sensitization meetings at the district level to outline the processes involved in drawing down the funds,” Walter said.

“The program should include a mix of rehabilitation, replanting and expansion based on farm/farmer needs assessment.  The average acreage per farm of the 161 targeted farmers should be approximately 4.5 or 5 acres with a specific production plan. This is the first phase of the plan and the agriculture ministry says it will ensure that the funds are put to good use and that the desired outcome attained before further allocations are made. “Therefore, monitoring officers will be engaged to track the application of the resources and performance of individual farmers,” the minister added.


Meanwhile, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has added his voice of support to what he considers a “timely investment”. He said at present, resources in the world are scarce and demand are high and he is therefore encouraging farmers to graduate to producing 8-10 tons of banana per acre.

Prime Minister Skerrit assured the government would not ignore the importance of the banana industry to the country’s overall economy. “We believe agriculture is key and essential to any economic development of Dominica. Our hope is that the farmers make better use of the assistance,” he said.

The Prime Minister has uttered a call to other stakeholders to partner with government’s initiative and realize that there is a greater national duty than profit. Additionally, he cited the recently announced cargo transport initiative by LIAT, and has urged farmers and exporters to take full advantage of the opportunity to get more of Dominican produce to the nations in the region and the rest of the world.

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture Samuel Carrette and AID Bank Executive Manager Corporate Affairs, inked a contract to the terms of its agreement.

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  1. Observer
    September 10, 2010

    This is just a drop in the bucket. NOT ENOUGH, NOT ENOUGH AT ALL. Our farmers are very valuable, treat them right.

  2. ohyeayea
    September 9, 2010

    what they think a million dollars poor me could blow a million in a split of a secound u watching famers and give them one million, u respec pilots>they fly u, u respect doctors > they treat u, u respect lawyers they lie for u and defend u, the farmer who gives u to eat every single day u disrespect him!!! cause his clothes is dirty and sweaty. in the United Kingdom, Canada and the united States a farmer flies in his private jet and helicopters, in a nutshell he’s a millionaire…. respec who feed u sCARE it!!!! u respect your Doctors and your senior clown respect who feeds u!!!

  3. Fooling who?
    September 9, 2010

    $27,000,000.00 for building a new mansion for the President, but Govt. is investing only $1 million for agriculture for banana development? What is the rational? What are the Govt. priorities? Dominicans are you seeing Govt. showing any interest in improving Agriculture? Money could be made if Dominica increases it productive capacity, Dominicans have no idea what is Govt.’s plan to move this country forward. What is the plan for agriculture re. increased production, marketing, improving farmers living standards. Isn’t it a shame that the PM recognizes that Agriculture is the key to our economic development, yet that productive sector is in such decline? Farmers are living their farms in droves. Dominicans, ask the burning question, would $1 million dollars change anything? Think for yourselves. Haven’t $$$$$$ been pumped into the industry before? What has been the results? It takes much more than the little, little sum of $$$$$$ to improve agriculture. Only reactive actions and lip service we see.

  4. farmer
    September 8, 2010

    Skerrit will soon ask farmers to plant macroni instead of Banana. Is like one will buy a box and plant the elbow macroni(s) and they will bear fruit lik more macroni or like rice grains. 1 million giveme a break skerrit that cannot buy Sadines for the farmers to feed their family.

  5. YES
    September 8, 2010

    This inept govt is showing to all and sundry their clear intentions whic is to destroy the country.What is $1M to invest into agriculture (banana)..Well people brace yourself for more poverty,unemployment,decline in the standard of living etc…Thought i heard $10M going towards the construction of a State House….THIS IS THE NEXT LEVEL !!!!!!!

  6. Hard-working farmer
    September 8, 2010

    If PM Skerritt says he believes agriculture is key and essential to any economic development of Dominica, why production, market penetration and farmers livelihoods have declined so much, especially under that Govt.? PM, those are just blanket statements and wicked. The Banana Industry and non-banana sector have been ignored by your Govt. that is why the agriculture sector, an important productive sector, is in shambles. Dominicans must realize that the country’s food security is uncertain.

    The PM and the DLP Govt. plans to build a new mansion for the President at a cost of EC$27,000,000.00, but invests a meagre $1 million dollars for Banana development? What is the rational? Dominicans, does that make any sense to you all? Total disrespect to the hard working farmers. What would the mansion produce? What revenue would that building mobilise? How many banana farmers and farmers in general could have the kind of assets some politicians have acquired in so short a time, although they are working extremely hard? The standard of living of our farmers have declined considerably. Farmers are abandoning their farms and moving away from agriculture in droves. Govt. must take a different approach, a holistic look and well planned action for agriculture to improve. The $1 million dollars will be just chicken feed. Trust me.

  7. Patat
    September 8, 2010

    Mr. Edison Chenfil James, former Prime Minister and former Leader of the Opposition and now President of the UWP and Parliamentary Representative for the Marigot Constituency has been adjudged the most productive farmer in Dominica for 2009.

    That million dollars not enough for Mr. James far less for the rest of the other farmers that in
    Mr. James‘s league.

    Honest hard work paid for his reelection.( I am not of topic)

    Mr. PM, give Mr. James some funds to set up his farm as a model for Farmers all round Dominica to emulate. He has the management skills, record keeping skills, planting skills, farm water management skills, farm waste management skills, packaging skills, an eye for quality, and many other skill sets that can once again take farming in Dominica from crisis to recovery. He is a crisis manager.

    With night landing beginning today September 8, 2010 and soon Liat new airlift cargo of agricultural produce, Mr. James is well positioned to make both farming production and Liat Cargo business viable in Dominica.

    Long leave Mr. Edison James as a valuable farmer of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

    Now Mr. PM, you does give people that selling wholesale goods by d market medal on Independence Day. This year, you should be a big man and honor Mr. Edison James for his contribution to farming in Dominica with a meritorious medal of honor. That will not mean he will not continue to hunt you as a politician, but you will demonstrate to the world at large that you are indeed a States Man. Even Judge Thomas will think twice and hold you in even higher esteem.

  8. salop
    September 8, 2010

    Good enough, not to many banana farmers remaining.The high leaf farmers doing very good with no help.Good looking out P.M.

  9. John John
    September 8, 2010

    i wish St. Lucia would take a page from the books of Dominica and provide some sort of assistance to farmer after a trying period (as has been this year

  10. hmmm
    September 8, 2010

    .. what happen you want some commendation for that this govt. have no insight, no planning, no vision.. look what is happening to agricluture..
    de same for tourism, we heard the minster of tourism… he just awoke from his sleep and is blaming the mayor for the state of Roseau..
    good move by our reactive government towards the next level…

  11. L
    September 8, 2010

    Positive Vibes. Great timing. The banana farmers have been asking for assistance for quite a while. Let’s hope that this will give a big boost in banana production.

  12. yout
    September 8, 2010


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