The second phase of the disaster risk project within Dominica’s agriculture sector is underway thanks to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

At a press conference held on Friday at the Division of Agriculture, Technical Officer in the Department of Agriculture, Winston Magloire, stated that this project, which was approved earlier this year, is the second and final phase of the ‘assistance to improve disaster risk management project.’

The ‘assistance to improve disaster risk management project’ was first launched in 2010.

Winston gave an overview of the initial objectives of the project, outlining some of the areas the 2010 plan hoped to tackle.

“Phase one of the project went on up till 2011 and it had several components.  One was for the development of an agricultural plan for the disaster risk mitigation in the agricultural sector, a second looked at disaster risk mitigation for crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry and another component also addressed disaster risk mitigation at a community level.”

According to the Technical Officer, following its endorsement, some of the sub-programmes of this project remained at a stand-still.

However, phase two seeks to continue some of these activities which had been planned in 2010.

These include developments in the fisheries division, establishing shelters for livestock and working with the forestry division and individual communities.

“One of the activities in fisheries looked at disaster risk mitigation measures for various fishery methods including pot fishing and line fishing, in terms of livestock we looked at the construction of buildings and retro fitting them so that they were better able to withstand conditions of hurricane and other disasters. In forestry we also did some work.  We had workshops and sensitisation of farmers in to the benefits of agro forestry systems and improved managements of forests to improve the resilience during disasters.  A t the community level we worked with two communities, Dos D’ane and Goodhope/San Sauveur in identifying some of the disasters that they face at the community level. We had a national expert who was involved in the mapping of the vulnerable areas in those communities.”

As the issue of mitigation for crops was unable to be addressed during the previous stage, Winston informed that this matter will be tackled in the upcoming phase, along with the finalisation of a comprehensive plan for the agriculture sector.

Winston told the press that the amount estimated for this phase of this project is approximately one hundred and fifty seven thousand dollars, which he admits is not necessarily a lot of money.

However, he says that this sum is sufficient for the task of piloting activities to trigger activity and awareness among islanders.

“There are certainly many activities that have been pointed out by the communities for example which will require for more resources than the project is providing us with. However, we believe that through this work that we are doing now it allows us to create the awareness and also to start the process so that if additional funds are identified then we can continue the implementation of some of those practices in different communities and at different agricultural regions.”

According to Winston, the project will be steered by a committee with as much diversity as its previous phase, collaborating with representatives of the Office of Disaster Management, The Office of Community Development, The Forestry and Fisheries Divisions, and the Livestock Unit.

Anna Ricoy, Climate Change Adaptation Officer, also present at the conference, represented the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), pledging the organisation’s full support of this venture.

Winston says phase two will be the final stage of this project and will be completed in December this year.