The White Potato Subsector in Dominica has grown tremendously over the years. The Government of Dominica continues to invest heavily in the agricultural sector and has always been assisted by donor agencies to ensure food safety for all Dominicans.
The World University Service of Canada (WUSC) in collaboration with the Ministry Of Blue And Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security held a national dialogue on ‘Transforming the White Potato Subsector towards a Sustainable Industry’.
This project falls under the Sustainable Agriculture in the Caribbean (SAC) project and is being funded by the Government of Canada.
Minister for the Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security, Hon Fidel Grant says Government has charged itself with a mandate to intensify production and productivity to ensure that citizens of Dominica have a steady supply of locally produced fresh and nutritious foods year-round.
Minister Grant says Government remains committed to ensuring that farmers are well equipped to supply residents with local produce.
“The policy vision is bearing fruit. We continue to provide agriculture input, high quality plating material, technical assistance and promote the adoption and application of innovative technology within the farming community. We have deepened our bread basket. We continue to expand our food offerings to the Dominican population. Under our horticulture programme, we have ventured into not-traditional and exotic fruits and vegetable production but we have not left behind the years of experimentation and the trials on some of our short term crops such as potatoes which continue to generate income to many farmers,” Hon. Grant stated.
The Agriculture Minister says local white potatoes serves two major objectives. These objectives are import substitution and food and nutrition security.
“Particularly due to its cash crop nature, which benefits approximately 145 households on an annual basis, which includes ladies and youth, the Government has continued to make significant investment over the years for the successful cultivation of the crop. In this coming fiscal year we intend to intensify the production to address the seasonality of the locally grown crop and to ensure its availability for domestic consumption. Through these efforts, we believe we will trade off importation of just over 200 tons of imported potato on an annual basis,” Minister Grant explained.
Country Coordinator of WUSC Caribbean, Dr. Nadia Pacquette-Anselm, informed that the project will engage agricultural markets in Dominica and provide capacity strengthening support to local organizations.
“I am pleased to say that the SAC project will be guided by five principles of sustainable agriculture in its implementation. Improved efficiency in the use of resources, direct action to conserve, protect and enhance agriculture’s natural resources, protect and improve livelihoods, equity and social wellbeing, resilience of people, communities and eco-systems, and responsible and effective governance mechanisms. WUSC is definitely not new to the Caribbean or new to Dominica. Most recently the PROPEL project was implemented in five countries in the Caribbean including Dominica. In Dominica, Canada’s investment through WUSC supported efforts in commissioning and disseminating fresh produce market studies, develop and expand of course the white potato sub-sector in Dominica, and tis includes but not limited to improving its quality,” Dr. Pacquette-Anselm explained.
WUSC Caribbean made a presentation of tillers to two women farming groups engaged in the white potato subsector to ensure that production will be consist for food production in Dominica.