A programme to boost the production fresh produce is expected to go hand-in-hand with the operationalization of the multi-purpose packhouses.
The Production Support Programme is targeting three major crops under the National Export Strategy.
Hon. Trade Minister, Ian Douglas says, “We want to get to the target of 200 acres of dasheen, 150 acres of plantains and 26 acres of hot peppers.
“DEXIA has been able to achieve about 50% of that goal and we will continue the work to ensure that we have at least 100% of those targets in the not too distant future especially as we have the multi-purpose packhouses coming onstream.”
General Manager of Dominica Export and Import Agency, (DEXIA) Gregoire Thomas, says stimulating production is essential to the success of the packhouses.
“A number of farmers are engaged in the programme,” he says. “This is a programme where we provide at least 75% of the inputs are provided to the farmers.”
He reported, “To-date, we have established 108 of acres, 67 acres of plantains and 11 acres of hot peppers. What is happening is that although we do not yet have the packhouse equipment, we have already started to receive produce from our contracted farmers. Even some of the exporters are purchasing products from us.
A $1.1m contact for the procurement of equipment for the packhouses was signed last Friday July 3rd, between the Government of Dominica represented by DEXIA, and Farmex Technologies out of France.
Dominica signed a $2m loan agreement with the Caribbean Development Fund to have the packhouses operational.
The packhouses are expected to be fully equipped and in operation by end of 2015.