Over Two Hundred farmers, who were negatively affected by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, will benefit from a donation of farming implements.
The Canadian government supported Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprise and Linkages (PROPEL) and the Dominica Emergency Agriculture Response (DEAR) program have partnered with the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) to being some much needed assistance to the farming community.
Propel is a sustainable economic growth project which aims to increase the value of Caribbean fresh produce accessing high value markets in the Caribbean and externally. PROPEL is supported by the Canadian government.
The equipment which comprises of cutlasses, rubber boots, washing tubs, knives, knapsacks, and garden Forks were handed over to the farmers at a small ceremony on Friday March 2nd, 2018 at the Goodwill Pack House. A small but very appreciative group of farmers were on hand to receiving the gifts.
Operations Manager of DEXIA, Bristol Lawrence spoke to the importance of the equipment to assisting DEXIA’s contracted farmers get back into production as soon as possible and even to surpass production levels pre- Maria. He thanked PROPEL for their support.
The partnership with PROPEL dates back pre-Maria and was intended to develop a fresh produce brand for export from Dominica to the regional market. Barbados was the initial targeted market with very good reviews. That arrangement however was negatively impacted by the passage of Hurricane Maria.
Dianna Henry Laville, Field Facilitator for PROPEL, reported that the gift of the small agricultural tools and equipment to DEXIA’s contracted farmers is one component of the bigger DEAR project which was launched here in December 2017. It emerged as a direct result of the impact of Hurricane Maria on the farming sector and has been valued at EC $61,000.00.
Laville said through this project, the Canadian government has extended significant support to the agriculture sector since Hurricane Maria to include the purchase of potato seedlings, all necessary inputs to grow the crops, 2 tillers and contractual arrangements with two operators for the provision of tilling services free of charge to the farmers.
A total of 90 farmers to include 11 young people, 40 women have established 14 acres of white potatoes.