Agro-processors in Dominica are in line to receive the resources and training needed to create even better products and enhance the competitiveness of the sector.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through its Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services Network, has committed US$140,000 to a two-year project being executed in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in partnership with Dominica Youth Business Trust.
The project seeks to strengthen the capacity of agro-processors in key areas, namely, production, costing and pricing, nutritional analysis, and packaging and labelling. This is to enable agro-processors to meet the requirements of both local and external markets. It also includes a feasibility study for the establishment of a rotating processing facility, primarily for those who are not able to purchase the required equipment to set up their own processing facility.
Minister for Trade, Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Business and Export Development, Ian Douglas, hailed the project as “a timely one as we seek to focus on increasing quality and volumes of our value-added agro-products for export and local consumption”.
Head of the Private Sector Division at the CDB, Miguel Almeyda, said it is envisioned that the project will create strong linkages, contributing to sustained employment and livelihood of the farmers who supply primary agricultural products, as well as owners and employees of agro-processing enterprises.
“In addition, agro-processed products will help to meet the needs of the local tourism industry as well as other consumers and buyers such as households and supermarkets. Further, a thriving agro-processing sector engaged in exports will contribute to increased foreign exchange earnings for Dominica,” Almeyda said.
“CDB’s support of this project complements ongoing efforts by the Government of Dominica to create an enabling environment for businesses and persons engaged in agro-processing to diversify the agriculture sector.”
The project also aligns with the OECS’ priorities for agriculture, according to Ricardo James, Officer in Charge, OECS Competitive Business Unit, who noted that “the project’s goals and objectives are top priority for the OECS, which is why we welcomed the opportunity when we were asked by the CDB to work with the Dominica Youth Business Trust to support the execution of this project”.
Dominica’s Director of Agriculture Ricky Brumant said the launch of the project and its eventual implementation is significant to agro-processors, farmers, youth and to the citizens of Dominica generally.
“Value addition through agro-processing provides a wider basket of trading products on the market,” he said.