The Plant Protection and Quarantine Unit of the Division of Agriculture is holding a month of awareness activities focused on plant health.
The PPQ is the arm of the Ministry of Agriculture mandated to protect Dominica’s biodiversity and agriculture from pests.
Under the theme ‘Let’s Talk Plant Health’, the Unit wants to educate the public on their role in safeguarding the biodiversity of Dominica and ensuring that optimal plant health is sustained for the development of the agriculture sector.
Coordinator of Plant and Quarantine Services or PPQ, Nelson Laville, says the public can also expect to hear more on different services offered by the unit.
“The month we are focusing on the services that the Unit offers- one of which is diagnostic. For example, if your plant has any sickness or deformities and you want to know the cause, we offer lab services. We also issue import permits which are important and necessary to import any agricultural commodity. We will explain the different pathways for pests and what the Unit does to protect Dominica’s borders. We will also be speaking about the major pest concerns which are not issues for Dominica but can possibly enter if we do not manage our activities,” Laville listed.
“We also offer advice and technical support for capacity-building. We monitor the health of the forest in terms of plant health… Having the month of activities is to bring out the information to the public. We are stepping up our game in terms of national surveillance. We are also doing plant clinics where farmers, backyard farmers, tourists and whosoever wishes can come to present plant samples.”
The Unit is currently on a mission to double efforts to protect Dominica’s biodiversity.
According to Laville this month of activities is one such effort to include and empower locals.
“We collect data because our country is fairly big as it relates to flora so we need all eyes and all hands.”