Two multipurpose pack houses were officially opened last week to help expand the export of crops.

The official opening ceremony took place at the Glanvillia pack house in Portsmouth on July 22 and the other pack house is located at Goodwill, Roseau.

The pack houses are funded by the Government of Dominica, the European Union and the CARICOM Development Fund.

The Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) the Ministry of Agriculture, the Dominica Bureau of Standards, Dominica Hucksters Association, CARDI and IICA are involved in the programme.

Renovation of the Goodwill pack house cost EC$1.3 million while EC$3.1 million was spent in building the Glanvillia pack house.

Hannah Clarendon, the Chairperson of DEXIA said the pack houses will help improve the quality of fresh produce to Dominica's main markets.

She said DEXIA has placed special emphasis on the stimulation of production to meet the needs of the markets.

Clarendon noted that production support programme for dasheen, plantain and pepper will have to be expanded to ensure the pack houses are utilized. "Our vision is to operate a sustainable, integrated one-stop facility which facilitates the expansion of high quality fruits and vegetables to the regional and international markets and by so doing secure positive returns for all the stakeholders in value chain," she said.

"This process has started with the production support programme where a number of farmers have been contracted to grow dasheen, plantain and hot peppers for exporter. Hucksters will be able to benefit from the programme by placing orders with the pack house," said Clarendon.

Clarendon said that it must be noted that the multipurpose pack houses remain under the management of DEXIA and they are a key component in the agency's agricultural export programme.

Meantime, Johnson Drigo, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries said that the pack houses should serve as clearing houses for all products being exported or even sold locally in the supermarkets.

"The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is poised and ready, most of our farmers are also ready, others will be ready in the coming months as their crops mature and will be prepared for processing and marketing through the multipurpose pack house," Drigo said.