Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security, Reginald Thomas has said there is a need for a transformation of Dominica’s Agricultural Sector.
At a handing over ceremony of farming equipment to nine farmers on Thursday, Thomas stated that Hurricane Maria has taught persons the importance of development.
“Maria showed us many important things but one that resonates with us in the ministry is that the way we did things, we cannot continue to do it the same,” he stated
“There has to be a transformation of this sector and these are some little components and through they may seem small in rebuilding resilience these are some of the things that we have to put in place to ensure that we have a resilient agriculture, country and people.”
He said that after recognizing the importance of food safety, this month his ministry has gone ahead to band glyphosate, which is a chemical found in pesticide.
The PS added that this is a step in the right direction by ensuring the sustainability of the environment and enabling persons to continue eating healthy crops.
He assured that the government will continue working with the farmers and encourages all institutions to play a part in maintaining environmental sustainability, access to market and food safety.
Meantime, Technical Specialist of Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Dominica stated that IICA has developed a program called ‘Agricultural health, safety and food quality’ to strengthen agriculture within various countries.
He said this is under their 2018-2022 programme plan which is an instrument developed through a participatory approach including consultation with all their countries member.
“This programme really exists for two reasons; a need in the country to address plant health, animal health and good safety and quality concerns and at the same time a recognition of IICA work in the area over the years and thus its positioning and capacity to respond to demands in this field.”
Last year, he said IICA was asked by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Dominica Bureau of Standards (DBOS) to provide support for Dominica’s effort in developing a farm certification system for food and other products.
Copiel stated this initiative will improve market linkages for small farmers, and strengthen agriculture and manufacturing practices to comply with global standards.
He said Dominica’s weak mechanisms in agriculture limits market access and development of small farmers.