Trade Minister Ian Douglas hands certificate to course participant
Trade Minister Ian Douglas hands certificate to course participant

The Dominica Bureau of Standards (DBOS) says it is concerned with the indiscriminate use of pesticides and their harmful effects on the environment and Dominica's population.

"To address this critical issue, we will be reaching out to our Haitian brothers and sisters who practice agriculture," the DBOS said in a press release. "We hope that we can increase best practices based on the DOM-G.A.P. Standards to farming operations in an effort to curb the indiscriminate use of chemicals in our foods and environment".

The DBOS recently held a good agricultural practices certification programme for farmers at the DBOS offices at Stock Farm. Twenty-five participants were trained in the areas of safe use of pesticides, food safety, first aid and calibration.

Facilitators of the sessions were Joseph Blandford, Keian Stephenson and Dianna Henry-Laville of the Ministry of Agriculture, and Jezielle Ettienne and Morrison McPherson from the Environmental Health Department as well as Erwin Mitchel and Kelita Grant-Lee - Fire and Ambulance Department.

The DBOS is currently working with 167 farmers to attain DOM-G.A.P. Certification, a figure which is expected to significantly increase in the coming months. These farmers have been working tirelessly under the guidance of DBOS's Farm Assurers and Auditors to ensure that they meet the requirements for Certification.

The DOM-G.A.P Programme was established in 2017 to facilitate the Implementation of the Fresh Produce Export Quality Control Act. The Programme ensures that farmers, pack house owners and exporters of fresh produce utilize Internationally Recognized Standards and best practices such as Global G.A.P. and DOM-G.A.P.

Over the years, regional and international market requirements for agricultural produce continue to evolve. This makes it more difficult to secure markets for our fresh produce. However, with the assistance of the programme, farmers will be better prepared to meet the requirements necessary to access these regional and international markets.

The programme will also enable Dominica's fresh produce farmers to become internationally competitive through the adoption of innovative farm practices. These practices incorporate concepts of globally-accepted good agricultural practices within the framework of commercial agriculture production.

The DBOS is committed to continue its collaborations with all relevant sectors and stakeholders to ensure that we continue to supply quality produce and products of the highest standards locally, regionally and internationally. (Press Release)