EU Launches EC$54M Agricultural Support Package for Dominica

The European Union has launching an EC$54 million banana support package for Dominica that will help the country adjust to the new trading arrangements for bananas. The launch was part of Europe Day Activities which were held on 9 May in Dominica.

Officially known as the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM), its aim is to address the underlying weaknesses in the industry relating to low productivity and commercial competitiveness. It will be executed by strengthening technological systems, implementation of quality standards, upgrading the physical infrastructure and developing the country’s agricultural information systems.

Some of the specifics of the BAM are improving agro-processing techniques, establishment of a land bank, conducting an agricultural census, creating market linkages, improving genetic material, upgrading access roads and on-farm irrigation, and providing insurance initiatives to mitigate against natural disasters.

Head of the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Ambassador Mikael Barfod said: "The Banana Accompanying Measures is part of EU support to assist banana exporters in Dominica and the other Windward Islands following erosion of the preferential conditions they once enjoyed. The package takes into account each country's specific situation as it focuses on economic diversification, while also addressing broader social, economic and environmental issues."

Head of the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Ambassador Mikael Barfod said: “The Banana Accompanying Measures is part of EU support to assist banana exporters in Dominica and the other Windward Islands following erosion of the preferential conditions they once enjoyed. The package takes into account each country’s specific situation as it focuses on economic diversification, while also addressing broader social, economic and environmental issues.”

Other features of Europe Day activities included visits to two EU funded initiatives: The West Coast Water project, which seeks to consolidate nine individual water systems on the west coast of Dominica, from Salisbury to Capuchin, into an integrated network with two reliable sources, namely the Picard and the Coulibistrie River; as well as a the geothermal test drilling sites at Laudat and Trafalgar.

Ambassador Barfod and other EU officials also took part in the official declaration of another EU supported project, the Waitukubuli National Trail as an Eco-Tourism site and made a short call at the Neonatal Unit of the Princess Margaret Hospital.

A reception to celebrate Europe Day was also held which was attended by President Eliud Williams, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and other members of Parliament.

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