Cocoa farmers in Dominica are now able to grow and develop in the industry thanks to a consultancy aimed at providing technical assistance for the enhancement of cocoa production in Dominica funded under the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) programme.
National Coordinator for cocoa and coffee in the Ministry of Agriculture, Franklyn Joseph, says that farmers have been responding positively to the assistance.
“We have been using the Portsmouth agricultural station for the propagation of cocoa plants. The first batch of that was ready in December 2016 and the plants have all been sold out. A second batch is already on the way and will be ready in April of this year,” he informed.
He said the demand is high and so the production of plants will be increased.
The National Coordinator believes that cocoa production can boost Dominica’s economy.
“There is much revenue to be earned from cocoa. Right now there is a very high demand for cocoa internationally; not only for chocolate making but also in the pharmaceutical industry. We have a very unique product here in Dominica in the sense that our product is classified as flavoured cocoa which fetches a premium price on the market.”
He noted that the Ministry of Agriculture is working closely with DEXIA to source international markets.
Consultant, Dr. Darin Sukha, who is a research fellow and food technologist at the cocoa research center at University Of The West Indies St. Augustine Campus, believes that Dominica can create a new niche-market product using cocoa.
“You have a very unique environment here in Dominica that creates a very unique marketing potential for the island, not only in terms of cocoa beans but in terms of value-added products,” he said.