Parliament Approves EC$13.5m IDA Loans For Agriculture And Climate Resilience

Government, on Monday June 25th, took to Parliament a motion for the approval of a loan in the amount of US$3.5 million from the International Development Association (IDA).

Government concluded negotiations with the World Bank for a financing facility in the amount of US$17,400 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) with US$3.5million (or EC$ 13.5 million) as loan and US$13,900 as grant funding.

The Hon Deputy Prime Minister, Reginald Austrie brought the motion, seeking Parliament’s approval for government to contract the loan amount.

The funds are for emergency agricultural livelihoods and climate resilience projects.

“Hurricane Maria caused extensive damage to Dominica’s economy. The agricultural and fishing sectors were amongst the most affected sectors and suffered high damage and losses, severely affecting the livelihood of the farming community, affecting the country’s ability to feed itself. Government took immediate action to assist farmers and fisherfolks as every attempt was made to restore agricultural production in order to meet domestic food requirements,” he explained.

Financial support was provided by the World Bank for that programme earlier this year.

“The Government of Dominica has sourced additional financing from the World Bank to further contribute to restoring agricultural livelihoods and enhancing climate resilience among farmers and fisher folks,” he said.

The funds will be used to “provide support for the recovery of the production capacity of small and medium-sized as well as production-oriented farmers through provision of a) inputs, tools and materials for the replanting and restoration of crops and b) technical and advisory services and training to support adaptation technology and use of climate smart practices for increasing diversification and climate resilience in the agricultural sectors.”

Livestock farmers, bee keepers, poultry farmers and boat builders will benefit. Several boat building facilities will be repaired, and new agro-processing businesses will also be established. Among other interventions, extension officers will be trained and agricultural centers and offices will be equipped and, in some cases, established.

The funding will also take into account the reconstruction of eco trails and will facilitate capacity building in climate resilience.

Hon Austrie says the loan is consistent with Government’s debt strategy and was contracted on very concessional terms; the interest rate is ¾ of 1% per annum, the commitment charge ½ of 1% per annum, repayment by 50 semi-annual instalments commencing 15 August 2028 (grace period of ten years).

The motion was consensually approved by Parliament.