A better quality of fresh produce is expected to be exported now that two multi-purpose packhouses are operational.
A ceremony was held on Friday, July 22nd to officially open DEXIA’s two multi-purpose packhouses.
One packhouse is located in Longhouse, Portsmouth and the other is in Goodwill, Roseau.
The multi-purpose packhouse is an initiative funded by the Government of Dominica, the National Authorizing Office of the European Union, and the CARICOM Development Fund.
The packhouses will be managed by the Dominica Export/Import Agency (DEXIA).
Other contributors are the Ministry of Agriculture, the Dominica Bureau of Standards, the Dominican Hucksters Association, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The then Hon Acting Prime Minister, Rayburn Blackmoore, emphasized that agriculture is a priority for Government, hence the reason for these investments.
“The Dominica Labour Party Administration under the competent leadership of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is in fact dispelling the propaganda being brought forward by our detractors by officially opening these two facilities. There is a narrative that has been constantly circulated over the airwaves that this Labour Party Administration does not invest enough in agriculture. This is not the truth. This facility is a long time coming and it is good for the farmers of Dominica, the hucksters and it is good for the agriculture sector.”
Hon Minister for Agriculture, Johnson Drigo, is elated to witness the opening of facilities which will enhance the quality of export products.
“It is good to here to experience this long-awaited commissioning of these facilities which will deal with sorting, overall processing, packaging and readying agricultural produce for the export market.
"The proper and effective functioning of these facilities will greatly enhance the quality of produce that leaves our country. We anticipate that the necessary protocol and standard operating procedures will be put in place to ensure that the consumer receives a high quality product after being processed through these facilities.”
Meantime Hon Minister for Trade, Ian Douglas, says his Ministry will work collaboratively with the Ministry of Agriculture to make these facilities the best in the region.
“This milestone is very significant as it introduces a new era for the export of fresh produce in Dominica. It has been a long and tedious journey, one marred by financial and infrastructural challenges, but we have prevailed in making these facilities the best in the region. Cognizant of the growing trend in the international food trade and the importance of enhancing the market competitiveness of Dominica’s fresh produce export, the Government of Dominica has invested heavily in the construction of these multi-purpose packhouses.
"This complements other efforts such as the National Farm Certification Programme which is being spearheaded by Dominica Bureau of Standards. The operations of these packhouses will facilitate the implementation of the Fresh Produce Export Quality Act. This Act provides the licensing of fresh produce exporters.”
The Goodwill Packhouse was renovated at a cost of EC $1.3m while the Portsmouth Packhouse was constructed at a cost of EC $3.1m.