Agriculture Minister Johnson Drigo has revealed that there is a market available for the export of fish and that young people on the island are being trained to be more equipped to take advantage of that market.
He made that statement while addressing a press conference organized by the Dominica Youth Business Trust (DYBT) on Wednesday.
According to Drigo, the main aim of the training is to find more creative ways of creating employment for young people, since some businesses available in Dominica “cannot expand.”
“For this year we have seen cash value of well over $380,000 for the export of fish, I am not talking about local fish consumption of which we are meeting at least 90 percent of our fish locally, so there is a market for the export of fish and the intention is to train people, equip them properly, send them out and get them not only for the local market but for the export market,” he said.
He stated that fishing complexes on the island are being retrofited with new freezing equipment by the Japanese to broaden capacity.
“Therefore in everything we do, both in agriculture and fishing, we have to look at export as a means of bringing in foreign exchange into the country,” he stated.
Drigo noted that Ministry of Agriculture is very pleased to be collaborating with the Dominica Youth Business Trust (DYBT) and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture in training young people in the fisheries sector.
He revealed that so far over 70 individuals in Fond St Jean, San Sauveur and Layou have been trained in Outboard Motor Engine Repair.
“The training cost in excess of $EC110, 000 and it is already having positive impact on the trainees from the various communities,” he noted. “An additional big initiative will soon take place in Layou where there are plans to construct a number of fibre glass boats and establish an Outboard Engine Repair Shop.”
He said the government is currently reviewing a proposal to facilitate this development.
Drigo mentioned further that the Fisheries Division and Youth Division are excited to be part of the boat making programme in Castle Bruce.
“We are now doing an outboard motor training programme…,” he noted. “We intend to do the basic training fishing course for all of the participants who are part of the programme.”
Drigo indicated that the hope is to ensure that all the participants’ boats have an outboard motor in order to send out professional fishermen.