A multi-million dollar Dominica Chinese Modern Agricultural Center will be officially declared open during the 2014 Agriculture and Foresty Festival, Minister for Agriculture, Matthew Walter has said.
According to the minister, the center will serve as a significant addition to the goals set for agriculture.
“I need to thank profusely, the Chinese government for making available this very essential initiative that will contribute to food security and economic development.”
Speaking at the formal launch of the festival, Walter said his ministry is aiming to breathe fresh air into agriculture.
“There is a need to bring the young people on board. We need new blood in the agricultural sector because the young people are educated in the field of agriculture Many of them can access the internet and to internalize the scientific ways and means whereby we can make agriculture a profitable enterprise.”
He noted that agriculture should be done as a business and a science and said the government has been investing tremendously in all aspects of the sector to ensure that it continues to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of this country. According to him, a level of disinterest now exists among farmers.
“There is a need to motivate the present farmers because we see a level of disinterest in many of them. Farmers are being threatened by international measures, sometimes farmers cannot cope with certain standards, we have situations where farmers cannot cope with escalating prices in relation to the cost of fertilizers and other inputs, there are situations where we do not have sufficient workforce on the ground.”
However the minister said his ministry wants to send a message to farmers that there is no need to despair and get disinterested.
“If we understand what it takes to be able to do agriculture in a very profitable manner and if we understand the need for us to pool our resources and our ideas and for us to be able to implement workable and sustainable plans, I think that all of us should be convinced that doing agriculture is profitable.”
He said it is his ministry’s position that to be able to achieve that goal there is need to showcase what agriculture has done, will do, and intends to do.
The Festival is expected to be held from May 12 to May 17 at One Mile in Portsmouth.
Activities planned for the event include an exposition highlighting work done by farmers and agro processors, a farmers forum, a youth forum and an awards ceremony.
Ministry of Agriculture officials will also visit various schools to highlight career paths in agriculture.