DAPEX Chairman Says Shortage In Agricultural Produce Affecting Business
Despite efforts to boost agriculture in Dominica, one export company says enough is not being done.
Chairman of the Dominica Agricultural Producers Export Company (DAPEX), Mr. Luke Prevost, says the company has been facing a major problem with the lack of adequate produce for exporting.
Mr. Prevost says that this produce shortage or drop in production, have also caused them to fall back on their efforts to broaden their markets and customer base.
He added that they do not see the likeliness of this situation changing for the better anytime soon.
Mr. Prevost indicated that although there may be some upsurges, it will not be in the way that is sustainable.
Mr. Prevost pointed out that when the company was formed it was previously known as the Dominica Banana Producers Limited (DBPL), in which the Government sold three properties to them; Fond Cole, Marigot and Portsmouth.
The organization and the Government had an agreement to suspend the sales agreement, where the intention was that when the facility in Fond Cole was completed, they would lease it back or sell it to them.
However, Mr. Prevost said the Government took the decision not to sell the property to them, and adding insult to injury put on a very short term lease which does not allow any financial organization to do medium term financing with DAPEX.
During this production shortage, the organization can in no way set up a production base which would have included contracts with farmers, that resulted in a major effect on the business.
Mr. Prevost says what is needed to solve this problem is the continued investment into agriculture, to work towards a vibrant agricultural sector.
This investment will also be important so that we will be able to meet the production requirements to adequately supply the outside markets.
The DAPEX Chairman pointed out that when they would normally export every week, now it has been reduced to a fortnight due to the lack of production.
They normally exports to Barbados and cannot meet their demand, and as a result were forced to ship fewer volumes.
This is also happening in St. Kitts, and they have not shipped to Trinidad for a very long time.
Mr. Prevost said in order to recommit themselves to the markets that have high demands, they would first have to ensure the production is up to standard so they will keep supplying continuously.