The Hon. Agriculture Minister, Johnson Drigo says Government continues to see agriculture as key to national development and will continue to be innovative in its pursuits to strengthen the economy.
Hon. Drigo says Government’s investments in pineapple production is another positive indication of efforts to stimulate economic growth, increased productivity and employment.
Hon. Drigo was addressing a town hall meeting at the Kalinago Territory last week.
“The Nature Island Pineapple Producers Association (NIPPA) is working with the Ministry of Agriculture to increase cultivation and processing of pineapple,” he said.
“Under the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) programme, $393,700 has been allocated for investment in pineapple production: 20,000 pineapple plantlets were imported and arrived on the 30th of June, 2015 and once this batch is weaned, another 20,000 will arrive to supply to farmers.”
According to the Hon. Minister, Government is currently negotiating with a potential investor for the construction of a pineapple juicing factory in Dominica.
In response to concerns surrounding the availability of suitable markets for export of the product, Hon. Drigo responded based on a recent trade mission to Martinique, the Ministries of Agriculture and Trade.
“They told us that there is a large market for pineapple juice in Martinique. This is not the only export area for pineapples. We export pineapples to all the Caribbean islands. NIPPA is well-structured.”
He added that the Ministry of Agriculture will give technical support to persons wishing to grow pineapples.
Meantime, Hon. Drigo says Government continues to invest in the fisheries sector.
He reported that, “The Government of Japan is to provide fisheries equipment and machinery costing US $1.4m. The project is intended to replace and upgrade equipment and machinery at all the Fisheries Complexes on the island and create greater efficiency and enhance fish production and quality.”
The Hon. Minister revealed that work recently began on the installation of a new flaked ice machine at the Marigot Fisheries Complex.
“This machine has the capacity to hold two tones of ice and it is modern enough for the present demand of fishing in the community. This new machine will replace an existing cube ice machine which was not the most desirable for the maintenance of good fish quality in the area.”