PART III: A University Specialist on Rebooting Agriculture...
Space being limited, we continue featuring parts of the highly stimulating address of Professor Clement Sankat, Principal of UWI's St. Augustine Campus (four weeks ago at the UWI Centre, Dominica) and conclude (for now) with these verbatim extracts:
"…Should not Dominica be doing MORE with its VALUE PROPOSITION Spices ? Turmeric, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Black pepper, Ginger, Vanilla… And (for other crops) there are wonderful synergies - Cocoa, Banana/plantain and anthurium are exemplary companion crops - Banana is a shade crop to cocoa, and anthurium is an understory crop grown under cocoa. These crops present opportunities for: - Agro-tourism - Value addition and linkage to tourism industry - Foreign exchange earning - Building a business cluster and employment around the sector
"…Another good Value Proposition is Livestock . We must also use our competitive edge as it relates to our livestock including the production of the Barbados Black-belly Sheep, T&T Buffalypso, the Jamaican Hope, and commercially farmed exotic meats such as Agouti, Guinea Pigs, wild hog and rabbits. But deepening and significantly heightening the value addition from Caribbean agriculture must be factored into our strategies. Science, technology and entrepreneurship will play a very important role here.
'…As I begin to conclude I wish to ask a couple questions: Can we not - Grow what we eat & eat what we grow? Can we not – Reduce our food import bill by 25% in 5 years? Can we not – Export much more Unique Value Propositions?
As one of the biodiversity 'hot spots' of the world, leveraging endemic species should be an important feature of Dominica's development strategy for agricultural enterprise and agribusiness development – the Patchouli plant for perfume creations…….
"…We need to start with the realization that agriculture's true revolution will come from an ecological modernization. Ecological modernization is a system-based approach which looks to the inter-connections between policy formation, the economy and the natural environment with the intention of transitioning operating systems to forms that are in line with the natural ecological process. It focuses on industrial ecology as the operating premise for economic activity so that there is maximum use of resources with minimal disruption to the environment. We therefore must change the whole philosophy of how food is produced, distributed, sold and consumed to address vulnerabilities created by the present agri-food economy."
Prof Sankat is someone Dominica MUST re-invite to help advance that potentially awesome sector.