The Hon Minister for Trade, Energy And Employment, Ian Douglas, has given a detailed update on his ministry post hurricane Maria.
During an exclusive interview with GIS news, Hon Douglas noted that the multipurpose packhouses in Roseau and Portsmouth, which were officially opened just about two years ago, suffered minimal damage.
The packhouses served as distribution centres for the distribution of relief supplies.
“Now that we are winding down the distribution of relief supplies on a national basis, those facilities are slowly returning to their original function which is being used as packhouses so that we can encourage the trade of fresh produce outside of Dominica because despite Hurricane Maria we want to ensure that we maintain our market,” Hon Douglas stated.
He said a few shipments of dasheen have already been made to the United States. The Trade Minister says as crops become more readily available his ministry will continue to expand the reach of the island’s markets abroad.
“Farmers are being encouraged to go back into the fields and Government through the Ministry of Agriculture has been providing the necessary support in terms of the inputs and the technical support from the extension officers,” he explained.
For the year preceding Hurricane Maria, the Ministry of Trade was able to generate EC$1 million in the export of fresh produce through the packhouses.
Hon Douglas is optimistic that his ministry can once again build momentum to expand trade.
He encouraged farmers to use the packhouses to ensure that the quality of fresh produce on the foreign and regional markets are maintained. He also encouraged hucksters to source their produce for sale to the region from packhouses.