Roseau, Dominica: Frontline Extension Officers from the Division of Agriculture of Dominica are engaged in a week long Soil Diagnostic Testing Workshop to enhance their capacity and strengthen knowledge in undertaking soil sampling and using portable soil test kits in the Development of a National Soil Health Plan.
The workshop is also part of the University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus Faculty of Food and Agriculture training programme being undertaken by all in service Extension officers – Sustainable Soil Health Management Module/Climate Smart Agriculture for improved agricultural production.
Lead Instructor and Facilitator is Dr. Gaius Eudoxie, through funding from the EALCRP/ World Bank.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue and Green Economy of Dominica Roland Royer continues to tour the agricultural regions around the island. The Minister along with his team of technical officers has visited farmers and groups in North, West, North East, East, South East and most recently last week the Central Agricultural Region.
As is customary a farmers meeting was held for those farmers who missed the tour. Over nine-five (95) farmers attended the meeting held at the Mahaut Emergency Shelter in Jimmit to raise their concerns and challenges being faced and to receive guidance on the way forward within the sector. Community meetings and stakeholder engagement are continuing for business owners, tour operators and guides with an interest in the Waitukubuli National Trail.
The Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project Team held a session yesterday for Segment 1 (Soufriere, Scotts Head and Gallion) at Rodney’s Wellness Retreat in Soufriere.
Divers, tour guides, restaurateurs and caterers, hoteliers, bed and breakfast operators and farmers provided feedback and improvements and avenues to earn additional income from the product citing regular upkeep of the trail, fringe entertainment activities and training in the natural flora and fauna as some immediate areas needing focus.
Ministry officially presented to the general public the plans for the Youth in Agriculture with an initiative to incentivize young farmers and professionals to get more involved in the sector.
Over the past five (5) years the agricultural sector’s economic contribution to GDP a value of XCD 284.53 in 2022 up from XCD 179.95 in 2018.
Dominica’s economic growth has always been based on the utilization of its natural and human resources. One of the main resource issues that threaten the performance of the agricultural sector is the level of participation of youth in agricultural, fisheries and agribusiness activities.
The 1995 Agricultural Census reported that only four per cent (4%) of all farmers at that time were under the age of 25, while thirty-six per cent (36%) were over the age of The average age of farmers in Dominica is estimated to be above 60 years today with the majority of active farmers entering the sector by default without a clear intention to farm and without the requisite skills, knowledge, education and training to make a significant impact on the sector.
Youth in Dominica forms part of a vibrant and creative culture and if engaged can offer innovative strategies and solutions for the sustainable development of the country as a whole.
Reinvigorating agriculture through the creative vision of youth and the development of vibrant leadership in the Agricultural Sector is critical for the way forward if agriculture is going to be transformed to achieve the national targets set and to be perceived by the youth as a “prosperous and entrepreneurial” profession.