The 67 million dollar World Bank Funded Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project has handed over inputs and equipment to government departments.

This as inputs and equipment were donated to the Forestry Division and the Engineering Unit of the Ministry of Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security on Friday 29 May, 2020. 

Manager of the Dominica Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project Mr. Kervin Stephenson says the donation was made in an effort to support the Forestry division’s organic tree planting programme.

“Dominica Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project is not only to restore livelihoods but to ensure that we have resilient practices, and to help the Forestry Division in their nursery. Supporting the tree planting program with organic fertilizers is very timely, this is the first time we have been importing organic fertilizers because we normally use composting and it is fortunate that we can donate to forestry,” Stephenson noted.

The Division received one hundred and eight bags of organic fertilizer.

“One hundred and eight bags to be exact and those bags will be used for their nursery, supporting their tree planting program and we are very excited to promote and support not only agricultural activities but forestry related activities,” he noted.

Director of Forestry Mr. Minchinton Burton says the fertilizer will assist with the increase in the production of plants over the next few months. 

“Post Hurricane Maria, the Division embarked on a major reforestation and beautification initiative and we are in the process right now of completing about eight nurseries around the island to be able to boost up plant production in this regard. The fertilizers here will go a long way in naturally helping us to produce the hundreds of thousands of plants over the next coming months that we will need. We actually targeted a lot of tree crops as far as agro forestry is concerned. Within the forest itself, cine the passage of Hurricane Maria, we have undertaken quite a bit of reforestation but using forest species. We try as much as possible within the forest not to introduce other species; so most of our officers, over the period, would have been doing what we call ‘wilding’ which is using the same young plants to fill the gaps in the forest,” Burton noted.

Mr. Burton says the Division aims to expand the project with a number of initiatives which includes the replacement of fruit bearing trees which were lost.

“The broader program, what we want to do is to expand this and provide a lot of fruit trees that we have lost over the years that we can probably give to homeowners, to farmers, put them along the highways etc. So that’s the whole idea of the program, the major initiative that we are undertaking. We are also undertaking a major beautification program along with the NEP, and this fertilizer will go a long way in assisting the eight nurseries that we just constructed to produce the planting materials,” Burton added.

Mr. Stephenson says the machines were provided to particularly assist single women who are the head of their households.

“Unfortunately, we have not received rains over the last couple months so it is even more challenging for land preparation in that not even a manual fork is able to go into the ground right now because of the dryness. So it is very fitting that we could provide equipment that could facilitate particularly single women who are head of their households, becuae again it is challenging for women to do land preparation and it is also challenging to get labor to do that. So we are hoping that giving that machinery to the ministry, they can now make that machinery available to those women on a loan basis.  They can come and collect it and use it for a fixed period of time and it will greatly help not only recuing the cost but also ensuring that we have land preparation,” Stephenson noted.

Meantime, Special Projects Coordinator in the Ministry of Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security Mr. Nicholls Esprit who received the two rotovators encouraged the farmers to maintain the new equipment.

“So it is a good day for farmers and I am thankful for the World Bank program and by extension for the program of the Ministry of Agriculture. We will continue to assist farmers and all we ask the farmers is to put into practice what we ask of them and to cooperate with us. When they get the machines treat it as if it is yours, so that you don’t damage it and misuse it so that someone else can get it. Thank you very much to the World Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture for assisting the farmers in the way that they have been doing over the years,” Mr. Esprit stated.

The cost of the one hundred and eight bags of organic fertilizers was $650 dollars and the two rotovators were $17, 590 dollars.