Government subsidies have resulted in lower prices for fertiliser and animal feed
Roseau, Dominica – December 16, 2008……….Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Hon. Matthew Walter has announced that the Fisheries sub-sector in Dominica is currently benefiting from an investment by Government of $4 million in response to the significant damage the sector suffered as a result of the passage of Hurricane Omar in October this year. The Minister made the disclosure at a Media Briefing at the Financial Centre last week.
According to Hon. Walter, to date $140,000 has been paid out as relief payments to one hundred and forty (140) fishers who lost their livelihoods as a result of the losses they suffered because of the passage of Hurricane Omar. As promised by Government in October, each fisher received $250 per week for four weeks. A total of sixty-two (62) fishers will continue receiving relief payments pending a continuous review of their circumstances.
The Minister also announced other assistance to the Fisheries sub-sector:
· Arrangements have been made with two boat engine suppliers to purchase a total of 121 boat engines for distribution to fishers. Twelve (12) engines are available for distribution to fishers.
· The rest of the engines are expected to arrive in the country in 6 weeks
· With respect to the repairs and replacement of boats, a total of 21 contracts have been prepared in respect of 21 boat builders to repair 47 boats and to build 28 boats which were either damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Omar at a cost of $794,000.
· The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will order 18 fibre glass boats for allocation to fishers to replace boats lost during the hurricane. The boats, procured from Columbia, are expected to arrive in Dominica in 8-9 weeks.
· Government has embarked on a programme to build boat houses and locker rooms complexes in 10 communities across Dominica. Designs are currently being drawn up.
· The Ministry has also placed orders for fish pot wire, fishing gear and equipment for distribution to fishers
During the Media Briefing, Minister Walter also revealed that as a result of Government’s intervention, the price of a 50kg bag of fertiliser is now $111.36 per bag, down from $185 per bag only recently.
In response to the rising cost of fertiliser, the Government of Dominica recently approved financial assistance for the National Fair Trade Organisation for the importation of 10,000 bags of fertiliser at a cost of $599,110. Cabinet’s approval is being sought for the Dominica Banana Producers Ltd to benefit from the same arrangement. As a result of this subsidy by Government, the cost of fertiliser in Dominica has been reduced by 40%.
In response to the shortage of animal feed and in an effort to provide feed at reasonable cost to the livestock farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture imported an emergency supply of 1120 bags of poultry and pig feed from Guadeloupe for sale to livestock producers. As a result of this intervention by Government, the cost of this shipment of animal feed has been reduced by $23 per bag and is now being sold at $38 per bag.
Hon. Walter also gave an update on the investments being made by Government on on-farm infrastructure and off-farm infrastructure under the European Union-funded Agricultural Diversification Programme. A number of feeder roads across the country have been completed and others are at an advanced stage of construction.