PART II: The Rebirth of Dominica Agriculture?
Space is very limited, so as we continue featuring the highly stimulating address of Professor Clement Sankat, Principal of UWI's St. Augustine Campus (three week's ago at the UWI Centre, Dominica) we will just quote these extracts:
"...In fact, somewhere in the disenfranchising thrust of globalisation, we appear resolved to be net importers of food. CARICOM has spent over US$ 2.8 billion on food imports each year since 2008, currently estimated at US $4 billion. Our growing dependence on food imports is seen post 1990 when food imports, relative to merchandise imports increased substantially and has since not returned to those levels. This has nearly doubled in twenty years. Dominica in 2013 imported US$8.6 million in meat alone. In fact, meat imports have increased by over 95% since 2003, and chicken imports alone have increased by 165% between 2003 and 2013. (Here we pause to applaud the initiative of the Dominica Gov't in establishing an abattoir to process chicken and pork.)
"…The degradation of the Caribbean's natural resources/systems like our biodiversity due to our system of agriculture and food production is a major loss to development… I make this point to say that Dominica cannot afford to make this mistake. The forests in Dominica provide essential services both for the ecosystem and human wellbeing. These include for instance – wood and non-wood products like biomass based energy, soil protection and formation, biodiversity protection, water regulation and supply and recreation for instance. In addition, "the country owes its quantities of fresh air, clean water, rich soil, abundant flora and fauna and luxurious scenery to the forests". Dominica must therefore endeavor to let agriculture be a net contributor to bio-capacity rather than a net extractor.
"…Our faculty and staff of the Cocoa Research Centre conduct pioneering work on the understanding of fine flavoured cocoa and continue to work well with Dominica. The CRC has: Supported farmer field schools between 2012-2013 with funding from CDE (EU/ACP).and will soon be supporting Dominica under The European Union funded Banana Accompanying Measures to (among other things) provide chocolate making training…" Part III next week.