The Ministry of Blue And Green Economy Agriculture and National Food Security, under the Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project-EALCRP has purchased one hundred and eight (108) Yamaha outboard motor engines to a total cost of one million, seven hundred and fifty eight thousand, and forty (1,758,040) E.C dollars.
On Wednesday December 23, 2020, the project, handed over four 50 horsepower and one 100 horsepower engines to Jeremy Dupuis of Stowe, Daniel Francis of Scotts Head, Kimani Mourillon of San Sauveur, Shermaine Joseph of Colihaut and Shane Degallerie of Roseau.
Minister for Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security Honourable Fidel Grant stated that the donation of the engines reflects Government’s commitment to investing in fisher folk across the island.
““This is part of a larger program. We have fifty two in stock and another fifty six expected on island. This is significant in the sense that the Government in partnership with the World Bank continues to invest in our farmers and our fisher folk. The Government in partnership with the World Bank is making an investment in you the fishermen of Dominica and will continue with the distributions of engines and boats,” Minister Grant explained.
Minister Grant called on the fishermen to adopt good saving practices which will assist them in the long run.
“Let us begin to look at fishing as a business, and that is the first step in taking the industry seriously. Let us begin by taking records of our catch and the record of our sale because this is important for a number of reasons. One that the Ministry is aware of what you are doing and two, that in the event that you have to go out and apply for a loan that you are able to do so. As we have seen with the passage of Maria, significant damage can be cause and put several fisher folk out of pocket or out of business,” the Minister noted.
Minister Grant added that Government will continue to assist the fishermen with the support needed for the success of their business.
“I will like to pledge the Government’s commitment as well as the Ministry’s to the fisher folk. We are not going to just give you engines and leave you out at sea. We will continue with training, we will continue with all the necessary support that you need to ensure that you have a successful fishing business. We will continue to work with you and provide whatever services and whatever needs that are within our reach to you the fisher folk,” Minister Grant went on to say.
Meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security Dr. Reginald Thomas described the four stroke engines as efficient, and environmentally friendly especially when compared to the two stroke motor engines.
The Permanent Secretary then encouraged the fishermen to properly maintain and care for the engines.
“So please take care of the engines. We do not know when we will be able to give you that kind of support again. So care for the engine. You may not have paid for it, but somebody did and so you need to take care of the investment” Dr. Thomas urged the recipients.
Manager for the Project Implementation Unit for the Dominica Emergency, Agricultural, Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project (DEALCRP), Mr. Kervin Stephenson explained that over two hundred persons have applied for outboard motor engines.
Mr. Stephenson then outlined some of the criteria required for persons to benefit under the engine component of the World Bank project.
“We have approximately two hundred and twelve applicant for engines, what we are doing is that we are going through the applications to ensure that farmers comply; that they have damage on the fisheries database from Hurricane Maria; they are registered fishers, they are active fishers, and they have their fifty percent contribution which is at least a fifteen feet boat. Having met that criteria, we then go for approval, and so far we have approved sixty-six fisher folk,” Mr. Stephenson explained.
The outboard motor engines were procured by Auto Trade Ltd. Mr. Nigel McPherson, who is the manager for the Marine and Industrial Department at Auto Trade Ltd. stated that Auto Trade is presently undertaking training sessions for the beneficiaries in outboard motor maintenance.
“We have been training and coaching at least sixty fishermen. In one week we have coached about twenty persons and one of things we have stressed is the proper maintenance of our four stroke engines. Proper maintenance leads to longevity of your engines and we want you to ensure that you always maintain your engines properly. Follow the manuals. We are here to offer after sale service; we are not here to just hand you an engine but we are also here to provide you with the support that you need, so we are available to assist you in any way possible,” Mr. McPherson stated.
The company will also undertake the testing of the engines and provide supervision to the fishers when mounting the engines.
The development objective of Emergency Agriculture Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project is to contribute to restoring agricultural livelihoods and enhancing climate resilience of farmers and fisher folk affected by Hurricane Maria in Dominica.