The Government of Dominica has agreed to provide the Dominica Agriculture Producers and Exporters Company (DAPEX) with funds to assist the company in carrying out its mandate.
DAPEX is seeking to become the leading agricultural exporter of fresh produce on the island.
Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit in his 2012/13 budget announced that Government will make interest-free loans available to the company which will allow it to purchase produce from local farmers.
The Prime Minister said that at a meeting held by Government and members of the board and management of DAPEX it was revealed that the company was experiencing cash flow challenges. He said these cash flow challenges adversely affected the company’s capacity to purchase commodities from farmers thus constraining its capacity to take advantage of export opportunities.
The Prime Minister said this warranted a proactive response from Government.
“In response to this, Government and DAPEX have entered into an agreement under which Government will provide interest-free loans to DAPEX in order to allow the company to purchase produce from the farming community.”
The Prime Minister added that these loans will allow DAPEX to make payments to farmers in a timely manner thereby ensuring that farmers and their families have a regular income.
Government is hopeful that this will give farmers the confidence to increase production to the levels required by the markets. Prime Minister Skerrit stated that this agreement is expected to stay in effect for one year and will be revisited at the end of that period.
Currently there are 150 farmers who have marketing arrangements with DAPEX.
The Prime Minister is also hopeful that with this programme the number of farmers who sell their produce to DAPEX will increase to at least 250 and provide the basis for an expanded market base.
Currently Government provides a subsidy to DAPEX on fertilizer imported by the company for sale to farmers.