The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry implements measures geared at revamping the Banana Industry
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry launched a series of interventions, geared at boosting production, productivity and competiveness within the Agricultural Sector, more specifically the banana sub sector. While listing the series of measures at a Press Briefing on Monday August 16th, 2010 at the Government Information Service Building, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Honourable Matthew Walter said that these interventions will reduce the negative effects of trade liberalization as well as the escalating prices of agricultural produce. He said that in addition, it will reduce the negative effects of the recent drought on Dominica’s economy.
He said that for the Banana Sub Sector, Government will;
- Provide 1 million dollars in Phase 1 through the AID Bank for lending to farmers on a 50% grant scheme at about 2.5% interest rate. This he said will go towards farm rehabilitation, replanting and expansion
- provide inputs to farmers who are unable to access the 50/50 loan grant scheme to the tune of $500,000.00
- will continue to provide plant materials, technical assistant, new technologies and financing to farmers for adaptation to new farming systems under the diversification and support to Horticulture Programs
- Continue the subsidization of fertilizers which will ensure that the cost of fertilizers will not exceed $45.00 per 25 kilograms bags.
He said that these measures are designed to reach as many farmers as possible, while at the same time indicating to farmers and the industry on a whole, that it is by adopting more business-like approaches to farming that the industry will survive.
In that regard, the Minister called on all stakeholders and leaders in the Banana Industry to re-examine the rational for the level of fragmentation, inefficiencies and duplications that now exists.
The Agricultural Minister said that Phase 1 of the Banana Recovery and Sustainability Plan is just the beginning of a series of measures geared at reviving the Agriculture Industry.
‘We expect the funding from The EU Banana Accompanying measures that is better known as the BAM, to hopefully come on stream by mid 2011. It will contain a package of measures for improvements and competitiveness in the Banana Industry as well as measures for diversification of the Agricultural Sector,’ explained Mr. Walter.