A new cooperative has been established in Grand Bay as the community works to revive the local agricultural sector.

The newly registered Grand Bay Farmers Food Producers Cooperative Society Limited was launched on March 24 2021.

As part of the celebrations, the Ministry of Sports Culture and Community Development including the Cooperative Division presented the society with a cheque of five thousand dollars to begin their work. 

President of the Grand Bay Farmers Food Producers Cooperative Society Limited, Mr. Roland Delsol Jr. stated that he and his members are excited to begin working towards achieving the goals of the cooperative.

“We are excited to get this going. Some of our short and medium term goals include establishing a cooperative office and agro outlet where members can source inputs at concessioary rates. We intend to provide training to new and existing farmers on best practices in farming and running a business. Our long term goals, is the establishing of a farmers market, a structure dedicated to the sale of produce, while producing office, storage and meeting space for the cooperative,” the President noted.

Member of Parliament for the Grand Bay Constituency, Honourable Edward Registe commended the members for their efforts to establish the cooperative. He encouraged them to continue working and developing themselves to ensure the success of the organization. 

 “You must all be commended for your efforts for I am sure that you had you go through many meetings, many trainings and many seminars; and don’t believe that it is over, you have to continue in order to sustain the cooperative. You have got to go to these trainings to ensure that you keep your focus sharpened to be at the helm of leadership in any cooperative. So it is certainly not over, you still have a lot to do and I know that the Cooperative Division will assist you greatly in ensuring that you do this.

The Parliamentary Representative urged the cooperative to form partnerships with other likeminded organizations for a higher level of success and unity.

 “Now I advise you to seek to build partnerships with other cooperatives in your endeavor to build capacity and respond to the challenges which you may encounter. So there are several other cooperatives around you, so you can build partnerships with them and learn from their experience as they have been around for quite a few years,” Honourable Registe stated.

 Meanwhile, Minister for Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security, Honourable Fidel Grant encouraged the members to be proud of their profession.

“Farming continues to be the most noble of professions and in every way possible you should espouse that; you should be knowledgeable and noble about your profession. People may say they don’t want to get Agriculture but there is so much that Agriculture has to offer. You should feel that you are in a noble profession,” the Minister stated.

 The Agriculture Minister went on to say that cooperation is a huge part of Agriculture noting that “over the years our Agrarian economy has largely benefited from cooperation and alliance.”

 He explained that the combined efforts of the farming community have succeeded in achieving record production in crops over the years, adding that we can return to this point if we continue to embrace the spirit of cooperation in Agriculture.

“The benefit accrued to not only collective yields but the shared division of labour but through effective transfer of non-traditional crop and technologies,” the Minister noted.

Minister Grant pledged his Ministry’s support to the cooperative noting that the establishment of this cooperative is evidence of the Ministry’s policy direction.

“The Ministry supports this movement whole heartedly. This occasion represents the policy direction that the Ministry is embarking on. This particularly important where farmers pool their resources for productive results to be united for the purpose of sharing the benefits, common vision and mission. Given an unpredictable and abnormal prevailing global situation, banding together provides strength to persevere and to surmount the many challenges to our livelihoods and economy. The Ministry of the Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National food Security pledges its unwavering support to your cooperative and too all other groups in Dominica, mindful of the national development, economic growth and continued rural cohesiveness. The members of this cooperative is on to something good and we within the Ministry and the Government appreciate this,” the Agriculture Minister added.

Minister for Sports, Culture and Community Development, Honourable Roselyn Paul noted that this cooperative is in in line with the World Banks 2008 report which puts agricultural cooperatives back on the agenda.

 “This occasion represents cooperation and self-help and reminds us of the traditions of years past where neighbor helps neighbor to tend each other’s gardens and to build houses for each other. So I am very proud to be part of this event where we celebrate and build on the culture of ‘coud me’ a tradition that we should hold in very high esteem. You the members of the Grand Bay Farmers Food Producers Cooperative have taken a step in the right direction. You are keeping up with the World Bank report of 2008 which puts the cooperative model back on the agenda and in particular agricultural cooperatives,” Honorable Paul explained.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Community Development, Mr. Lucien Blackmoore told the members that while the early days will be hard work, they have the ability to make the cooperative a success.

 “So I really want to welcome on board the Grand Bay Farmers Food Producers Cooperative Society Limited. Welcome on board in partnering with the Ministry that has the mandate to ensure that we build strong communities and create the required robust economy that we need to really improve the quality of life for ourselves. It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to take hard work, it’s going to take determination; but you can comfort yourself by first understanding and recognizing the hardest part of a journey is always the first step. If you are bold enough to make the first step then everything else will follow,” the Permanent Secretary noted.

The members were also encouraged to work together for the betterment of themselves, the cooperatives and their community.

“Don’t look for benefits after the first year. It is a time for you to put your efforts together to work and build yourself. One of the principles of cooperatives is caring for community. Caring for community means caring for yourself, caring for your neighbor. If you care about yourself, you must care about your community because there is no way you going to be very successful and that success is going to successful. Unity is the foundation of cooperatives,” stated Mariet Canoville, the Commissioner of Cooperatives.