From talk to action – Part V
Freedom Speaks Column
Over the last two articles we have been discussing the first foundation principle that will guide some of the actions that the Dominica Freedom Party will take to help guide our people towards prosperity even though we are not yet in office. We have noted that as we pursue the big idea (making Dominica the nature island of the world), land will be a major determinant of the people's prosperity – hence the first foundation principle – Land is precious. In the last article we discussed the potential opportunities for earnings and other benefits from using the land that the Dominica Freedom Party is keen to support. Among those, we noted that pursuing agricultural tourism can result in multiple streams of income that can enhance the viability of farm holdings.
The Dominica Freedom Party will get involved in motivating the farmers and will take actions to help farmers along the way to realize the various opportunities we outlined in this series. We will share our ideas and provide ongoing advice, as we have started to do in this series. We will seek resources to conduct feasibility studies or to prepare documents to guide specific initiatives to include those in agriculture tourism. We will encourage cooperation among farmers, exporters and agro-processors and assist with putting cooperation arrangements in place. We will seek to source technical assistance for those undertaking initiatives, including sourcing such assistance from our people who reside abroad. We will also seek to secure financing and provide advice and guidance to farmers, exporters and agro-process with respect to the development of the ideas we have discussed. Much emphasis will be on securing venture capital. We will also be seeking to organize training to allow farmers to help themselves. Training will include building skills that could involve the use of local material such as stone and bamboo; and training in landscaping. With respect to agriculture tourism, there will be need for cooperation among farmers in marketing. Towards this end, we will work with existing government agencies or the tourism association, but we will certainly move forward if this is not possible.
Persons with land along the Waitukubuli hiking trail who wish to take part in an agricultural tourism pilot project may register their interest with us. Those persons, who own land and wish to least agricultural land to young people, are also asked to register that interest with us. Young people who wish to get into agriculture and who do not have access to land, let us know of your interest. We are also putting out a call for volunteers (to include our people who reside abroad) to assist in the various initiatives that will come. Architects, designers including landscape designers, engineers, environmental specialists, stone masons, wood workers, and agronomists, among other skilled persons are called upon to volunteer to serve your fellow Dominicans.
We continue to encourage persons to share their ideas on what can be done in agriculture, agro-processing and other areas. Sometimes ideas are inspired by our exposure in other countries – and that is part of the reason we value ideas from our people who reside abroad. Some ideas have been tried before; some worked well for a while and then faded for one reason or another, while some ideas have not yet been tried or pursued in any substantial way.
But once we have identified a reasonable idea, then we must subject it to more detailed critical analysis. Before embarking on the idea, we need to ask whether the idea is really feasible. Is there sufficient demand for a product or service to justify the investment in the idea? Do we expect the demand to grow to a sufficiently high level to justify the investment and what marketing and promotion actions will be necessary to attain that level of demand? Which other enterprises at home or abroad will the venture have to compete with and how might they react to the new entrant into the market for a particular product or service? What does it take to be competitive? Are adequate raw materials available at acceptable prices to sustain the intended operation and if not, what needs to be done to rectify the situation? What type of technology would be appropriate to optimize productivity? Are appropriate and sufficient skills and labour available in the country that can be utilized and if not, how could the situation be rectified? Is there adequate transportation links to overseas markets and at what cost? How is the project going to be financed and how would the cost and type of financing affect the viability of the project?
In going through the above elements among others for determining the feasibility of an idea, the fundamental question that must be kept in mind is - what are the critical problems that may prevent the project from achieving success? Sometimes we fail to properly study that question, but overcoming constraints is the second principle that will guide our actions.
More on that next week.
Kent Vital Political Leader Dominica Freedom Party