Roseau, Dominica – January 17, 2008………………..Fully cognizant of the important role the agricultural sector plays in the growth of the national economy and in the sustainable development of the country, Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the development of that sector with the announcement of $20 million ECD in investments in the short to medium-term.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Hon. Matthew Walter recently outlined the level of investment currently underway and planned investments in the agricultural sector in the medium-term, that is, within the next three years.
The sum of $4.05 million obtained through the CARICOM Petroleum Fund is currently being invested in the following areas:
· $1.83 million of these funds are being used to purchase and distribute inputs such as fertilizer and white lime to farmers;
· $1 million will be used to provide additional support for rehabilitation of plantain, dasheen, yams, tannia and vegetable production, particularly vegetable production utilizing greenhouse technology and an amount will be used for floriculture production;
· $900,000 will be used for rehabilitation of the livestock industry , providing direct assistance to selected farmers with materials, livestock, housing, feed and other inputs;
· $300,000 earmarked for rehabilitation of eco-tourism sites and facilities.
According to Hon. Walter, the Government of Dominica has made available, through grant funds from the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, $8.1 million for investment in the agricultural sector in the medium-term. The monies will be invested in the following areas:
· $1 Million for pork production
· $2 Million for fishing industry with a strong focus on aquaculture
· $5 Million for the horticultural sector, targeting specific crops such as citrus and cocoa, paying particular attention to herbs and spices and their potential contribution to the agro-tourism sub-sector
· $700,000 in the Botanic Gardens for an irrigation and nursery development project
Hon. Walter also announced Government’s intention to invest a further $8 million in the agricultural sector in the medium-term, subject to the receipt of grant funds expected soon.
Altogether, the agricultural sector is currently benefiting and will benefit in the short to medium -term from investments worth $20 million. “This clearly demonstrates the commitment of the Government of Dominica to the farmers, the fishermen and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector,” Hon. Walter said.
In addition to these investments, the Government of Dominica in the months following the passage of Hurricane Dean spent approximately $8 million in providing relief to banana farmers, non-banana farmers, fishermen, livestock farmers and market vendors.
The Government of Dominica is convinced that the surest way to secure the country’s future, to improve livelihoods and the health of the people, to reduce poverty and the cost of living and to improve food and national security is ” to invest in agriculture”. In March 2007 the Government of Dominica held a National Symposium on Agriculture under the theme Invest in Agriculture: Secure Dominica. At the symposium consensus was reached on the way forward for this flagship industry. (Ends)