Fifty farmers of Penville will benefit from an irrigation system project.

The commissioning for this project was held on October 15 2020 in the village of Penville.

This project costs in excess of two hundred thousand dollars.

As agriculture continues to play an integral role in the development of Dominica’s economy, the Government continues to put initiatives in place to expand this sector. Farmers of Penville will now have water readily available on their farm.

Parliamentary Representative for the Vielle Case constituency, Prime Minister Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit is happy for the people of Penville. Prime Minister Skerrit says the irrigation system will enhance the community’s agriculture output.

Prime Minister Skerrit describes farming as hard work saying that money can be generated from farming.

“You have to be serious, you have to be diversified. You must always have something to sell. If you are a farmer and you only have dasheen you will have a problem because you have to wait seven months before you can sell something. But what happens during those seven months. So you must have something to sell throughout the year so that you can take care of your bills, you can provide and put food on the table for you and your families. So it is important for us to look a diversifying,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.

Prime Minister Skerrit says this project has come a long way and has overcome many challenges. He says the Government continues to provide support to get farmers to the next level.

“We have to take the first step and the Government is putting in the investments. The only gratitude we want is for us to see you taking advantage of it; that this water system is making money for you. You can make it make money for you and I would love to see all of you make money out of this. I will also introduce you to the Chinese Technical Mission in Portsmouth where we can have a program where they can supply us here in Penville with a consistent supply of seedlings,” the Prime Minister noted.

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator the Honourable Oscar George encourages young farmers to take advantage of this opportunity.

“I want to encourage our young farmers to take advantage of the opportunity. Get back to the farms. Now is the time to plant and treat Agriculture as a business. Let’s be serious about it. We have to put in the time and the effort in our agriculture,” Senator George stated.

Senator George says agriculture plays an integral part in generating revenue for Dominica and he believes the irrigation system will help do just that.

“A large sum of money was spent on this project and given the current economic and financial difficulties the world is in now, that is a very huge amount invested in our agriculture. I would like to encourage our farmers; put yourself in a group to plan how to take care of the irrigation system. We maybe can decide to put a small contribution for the maintenance of the system” the Senator proposed.

Though the irrigation system was designed for low maintenance, some level of maintenance will still be required to ensure the durability of this system.

“We will also put a small maintenance committee in place to look after the intake and the entire system, but farmers you have to exercise responsibility. There’s no need for confrontation between farmers. It was not possible to put a line on every farmer in every location of Savanne. Some of us might have to use a hose or some extension to get water to where we want but don’t let that deter you,” Senator George appealed to the farmers.

 General Manager of DOWASCO, Bernard Ettinoffe calls on beneficiaries to maintain this project. Mr. Ettinoffe commended his team for their efforts.

“I would also like to encourage the farmers make full use of the system as it has the potential to boost your productivity and increase your profits. No longer do you have to wait until it rains to do your farming. I visited some of the farms down there not too long ago, it is some lovely lands you have there and lands that can be in production when it rains and when you have no rainfall. So we encourage you take care of the system, it was rehabilitated at a substantial cost and it also requires maintenance, all of which will cost money,” Mr. Ettinoffe remarked.  

A beneficiary from this project, Sheldon Royer is grateful for this system.

“We as the older farmers have to help the younger famers get into it. I try my best to assist them. It’s my passion, and I want to say thank you again, we are all grateful for the system,” Royer said.

Another beneficiary of this system is a female farmer, Mrs. Beverly gilbert.

“Thanks to the PM and Senator George for making the effort and working hard to give us that system which is important right now. We will do our best to use it properly to maintain our family and do what we supposed to do,” Gilbert added.