Agriculture sector in Dominica to reach new heights after new budget announcements
Roseau, Aug. 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Commonwealth of Dominica is making significant investment to build capacity in the agriculture sector. The country, which is home to rainforests, abundant flora and fauna, has rich fertile soil that helps support plant life. Components such as the soil, climate, topography, and location give Dominica the edge with their crop growing, and as the demand for organic food products increases globally, Dominica is prioritising the agriculture sector.
Farmers in Dominica grow a diversity of crops – these include bananas, sweet potato, plantain, citrus fruits, vegetables, coffee, patchouli, aloe vera, cut flowers, mangoes, guavas, and papayas. This year, during the presentation of the 2022-2023 budget, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced various measures for the upliftment of the agriculture sector. He advised that the government aims to increase the agriculture contribution to 700 million Eastern Caribbean Dollars by 2030.
Prime Minister Skerrit also outlined that government will invest an initial EC$ 1 million in the provision of greenhouses, insect netting, saran netting (also referred to as cover material), equipment and irrigation systems.
He further announced that all the investments would ensure that fresh fruit and vegetables are available and affordable throughout the year which will have a direct impact in the reduction of the food import bill as well as enhancing food security.
“Government will continue the propagation programme to ensure a minimum of 600,000 seedlings are propagated as well as distributed to farmers at a subsidised price as an incentive for production. Government’s propagation capabilities will be complemented by the increased capacity,” said the Prime Minister.
Furthermore, to enhance banana production, the government of Dominica will allocate special funds in the amount of EC$ 1 million, which will support large banana farmers. The government plans to provide further assistance to farmers by making an additional EC$ 5 million available to DEXIA as a revolving fund for the procurement of farming produce. This funding will offer packaging solutions to enhance the market needs for quality, price and consistency.
Enhanced packaging and processing of food increases the food value and the product range. He outlined that the farmers from the villages will now be able to sell their produce for processing, adding value, empowering female farmers and improving livelihoods.
Prime Minister Skerrit also stated, “To equip farmers to take advantage of this opportunity, we will provide EC$ 3.7 million to strengthen at least five new farmer producer organisations and crop production clusters to improve economies of scale.”
“We have made an agriculture policy framework that is in line with the government’s commitment to becoming the world’s first climate resilient nation. It outlines a vision for a resilient as well as sustainable agricultural sector that promotes innovation and technology to guarantee increased yields, consistency of production, quality, safe and nutritious fresh produce,” Prime Minister Skerrit added.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced that the government will focus an additional EC$ 1 million in support to young farmers and agriculture entrepreneurs, which will include grants for start-up capital, labour and supplies to eligible parties.
In 2022-2023, Dominica’s Calibishie and Salisbury communities will also see the installation of irrigation systems, with an estimated cost of EC$ 486,000.
Prime Minister has shed light on food security and consumption on almost every platform. During a Food Security Summit in Guyana, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit encouraged the youth to engage in farming practices, which will result in an increase in food security. He emphasised, “I am a farmer myself, and I am completely self-sufficient; I eat fruit that comes from my farm and are grown by me every day”.
Taking all of the above into account the Dominican people should take advantage of increasing the production of organic food, which can then be exported to sister islands and other countries. The commencement of export and import will help generate employment and revenue.
The government of Dominica has been upgrading its agriculture sector with the help of the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI). The funds generated by the CBI Programme of Dominica assist the government in advancing the sector. The government has adopted many new projects to modernise the sector, which are backed by the programme.
The Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme of Dominica was launched nearly two decades ago, in 1993 and has emerged as the best programme in the world. Because of its efficiency, the programme has been ranked number one for five consecutive years by the CBI Index, published by the Financial Times’ PWM Magazine.
The Citizenship by Investment Unit of Dominica makes sure that alternative citizenship is granted to quality applicants who have outstanding character and reputation. To ensure the credibility of the investor, the unit works with an independent third-party firm to conduct rigorous internal and external due diligence background checks.
The investor(s) or applicant(s) can apply for alternative citizenship through two investment options, which directly or indirectly help in the upliftment of the country. The two investment options are:
1) Economic Diversification Fund or Fund Option
2) Real Estate Investment Option
Under the Economic Diversification Fund Option, the investor has to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. The contribution helps in the advancement of various sectors, including education, healthcare, sports, housing, tourism and agriculture. The minimum investment under this investment option is USD 100,000.
Under the Real Estate Investment Option, the investor invests in any government-approved property, including resorts, hotels and spas. The minimum investment under this option starts from USD 200,000.
Dominica offers one of the Caribbean’s leading CIP programmes. The idyllic island offers one of the best standards of living and lifestyle as it is politically and economically stable. With the low crime rate and high business opportunities, Dominica is one of the best choices for investors. It is like heaven on the earth with countless hidden gems and nicknamed the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean”. Dominica boasts a dynamic coastline, incredible marine biodiversity, natural hot springs thanks to its volcanic origin and acres of unspoiled tropical rainforest.
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