Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said that Dominica and Dominicans have the means to grow the agricultural sector into a thriving economic driver.
He was speaking during Market Day with a Difference held in Roseau on the weekend.
Market Day with a Difference organized by the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) annually is observed primarily to highlight the hard work of farmers and vendors and their contribution towards the national development effort.
“The Government of Dominica has redefined our policy towards agriculture and food production as part of the national reset which is necessary to push our country to greater levels of production,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.
According to him, currently, agriculture in Dominica contributes approximately EC$230 million to the economy.
“Based on figures from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, though I believe that, that figure is way higher than reported by these institutions,” he stated. “This government’s plan is to keep growing the sector to a level where it contributes over $700 million to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030.”
Mr. Skerrit continued, “We are told that this is an ambitious target, but I believe that not only is it attainable, it is absolutely necessary.”
He added, “Dominica and Dominicans have the means to grow the agricultural sector into a thriving economic drive.”
Furthermore, he pointed out that the government’s investments over the years are paying off.
“We are seeing increased production numbers in a number of root crops, plantains, vegetables, livestock, and non-traditional crops,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.
Meanwhile, Trade Minister Dr. Vince Henderson said a few weeks ago DEXIA together with the Ministry of Agriculture embarked on a mission to access the country’s traditional markets and to look for opportunities for new markets.
“I wish to say that the Dominican agricultural product is still the preferred choice of consumers within the Caribbean,” he stated.
Dr. Henderson indicated however, that in order to maintain that position and to meet the demands of the markets, especially in the northern Caribbean, “we need to ensure consistency in production and quality.”
“And I know this is a little matter that we have had our own arguments over with the hucksters on one hand and DEXIA on the other seeking to promote the use of the pack houses as we seek to create a nature island label,” he stated.
Helena Williams, who has been a vendor for 40 years, was named the best farmer vendor of the Roseau Market.