RDF SYMPOSIUM - ON COMMEMORATIVE MAGAZINE
Declaration of Principles
NY Governor Pataki
Want to go home?
DEXIA - New Approach
Mo n Mo Music
Productivity and Economy
Health & the Diaspora
A Call to Action
Do You Remember When?
Technol. & Intel. Capital
Planning for Agriculture
Security & Development
Dominica State College
DSS in Partnership
Dominica & Integration
Education for Survival
Globalisation & Caribbean
Skills for Internet Age
Legacy of Rosie Douglas-1
SOME STRATEGIC PLANS FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT OF DOMINICA
by Osmond O. Barono
This paper provides focused strategic plans recommended to the Government of Dominica/Ministry of Agriculture for the development of the agricultural sector re crop and ornamental horticulture production and marketing. The ultimate aim is to generate employment for rural communities where potential opportunities exist. It is without doubt that agriculture especially crop production and marketing is the backbone of Dominica's economy. Hence its full productive potential should be explored and released.
The strategic goals and objectives are included in each strategic issue discussed. The strategic issues are as follows: -
TRENDS AND CONDITIONS ANALYSIS
Dominica's natural features, fertile soils, abundance of water and adequate annual rainfall distribution, low levels of pests, and a very hard working people are great opportunities for a viable horticultural and agricultural industry.
The threats and weaknesses though, must be understood, and appropriate actions taken in order to take advantage of these opportunities and strengths. Preferential treatment we enjoyed for bananas once 'green gold' is being phased out. Banana production is at its lowest realm. Farming population is growing out of productive age, while new young productive men and women are not attracted. There is a lack of school curriculum geared towards agriculture. Lack of infrastructural support is critical, especially the absence of an international (jet) airport crucial to international marketing of fresh agricultural and horticultural products.
Strategic Issue 1
Bananas & the Banana Industry
The phasing out of the banana protocol in the next six years is certainly a critical and serious threat issue that needs urgent attention. There is no doubt that open market equals strong competition. However strategies can be developed to dispel gloom and doom.
1 (a) Strategic goal and objectives
The banana industry should expand production and maintain consistent top quality in order to be a healthy and competitive force in the market place.
Six years of guaranteed market is still an opportunity to dispose as much as we can (i.e. > 70,000 tons as against 20,000 tons/ year). After this protocol is removed (or meantime while it is being phased out) and potentially being 'swallowed up' in competition we should consider among many alternatives of marketing strategies -
Farmers' morale and confidence need to be re-energized in order to boost production and quality. The following list could be considered in this light.
Strategic Issue 2
Ornamental horticulture and landscape
Dominica has a tremendous comparative advantage in its natural resource of abundance of water, fertile soils, and natural features. Great opportunities exist in the regional and extra regional marketing of cut flowers and foliages. These include ginger lilies, heliconias, exotic orchids and others (with the exception of anthuriums) that grow naturally with minimal cost of inputs and even labor!
2 (a) Strategic Goal & Objectives
Dominica should exploit its comparative advantage in the development of a vibrant horticultural industry and great market potential.
2 (b) Strategies:
As mentioned before, an international airport is critical to successful international marketing of horticultural products. Thus a proposed international airport is a step in the right direction. The institutional framework/support is already in existence- in light of MOA (production) and DEXIA (market development, and internet market access by DEXIA or farmers themselves).
Thus DEXIA & MOA should collaborate in selecting volunteer farmers, especially those with access to inexpensive irrigation water (rivers) and in close proximity to air transport for specialized production - say gingers only, heliconias etc.
Personally the author's research work has revealed that there are overseas entreprenuers who are willing to enter joint ventures in this regard on account of international air access which justifies economic feasibility.
There is an added potential advantage to building an international airport. Dominica is remarkably beautiful, in fact the most beautiful exotic island of the world! because of its natural features. An opportunity exists to design this proposed airport to be the most beautifully landscaped airport of the world. This could be done by enhancing the natural beauty by human intervention. Such a venture will create numerous employment opportunities for airport landscape maintenance crew and management, nursery personnel and workers, florists, etc. Also the concept itself is a tourist attraction, which will contribute to viability of the airport, and tourism development in terms of expected increased visits and the stimulation of other tourism products and services (hotels etc).
These hotels, guesthouses, etc would be an added boost to the horticultural industry in terms of landscaping and interiorscaping.
Another area of horticultural development with great potential is in the production of supplies and growing medium for orchids, anthuriums etc. Small enterprises can be established to produce a wide range of products that are in increasing demand in the United States. Products can be produced as raw materials or manufactured goods from the following:
Contacts have already been made with a Miami based organization, which showed much interest in this project. Another enterprise can be developed in the tourism trade by growing suitable miniature fragranced orchids on tree fern plaques that have been carved to the map of Dominica. These plaques would be sold to European and other markets with no restrictions, as a souvenir of Dominica. Note if plant material originated from Dominica care should be taken to develop and protect our species and the trade.
A. Strategic Issue 3
Some crops of Great Marketable Potential
The markets for vanilla, ginger and hot pepper have tremendous promise. [http://www.23degreesnorth.com/vanilla.htm; http://www.tintrac.com/rap/bulletins/market/vanilla.html] Farm enterprises reflecting these should be explored.
Vanilla is the second most expensive spice (price range from US$85 to US$ 120/lb of beans) after saffron; although most subjected to competition from imperfect substitutes. The global demand (see second web site above) for real vanilla is estimated at 2,000 MTs per year and that is primarily for high quality flavoring.
3 (a) Strategic Goal and Objective
Dominica should explore the production of high priced commodities like vanilla, grow them organically and regain a competitive edge, especially in the production of vanilla dried beans with very limited or no market restrictions.
3 (b) Strategies
The strategies above could be applied to other such crops of high marketable value and potential.