Find Agriculture expertise in Dominica
Agriculture, together with forestry and fisheries contributes 13% to the country’s GDP (2010), which has decreased in recent years due to change in trade agreements and increased competition. Despite this it remains one of the most important private sector activities, and is a major employer, supporting 40% of workers (2008). Major crops include bananas, citrus, mangoes, root crops, coconuts, and cocoa. Bananas traditionally provided the foundation of the country’s economy, latterly enjoying preferential trade agreements with the European Union, which, however, came to an end in 2006. A series of World Trade Organisation rulings resulted in the Windward Islands’ share of the UK banana market dropping from 45% in 1992 to less than 9% in 2009, facing competition from lower-cost bananas from Latin America and West Africa. However, fair-trade has been identified as key to the future growth of the banana trade and the agriculture sector in general. A contract with United Kingdom supermarket Tesco brought with it higher prices and a premium for high environmental and production standards. The percentage of Windward Islands bananas that are sold to the Fairtrade market has grown from 30% in 2004 to over 90% in 2009, whilst now more than 90% of banana growers in the islands are members of Fairtrade groups.
With increasing competition in the banana industry, farmers are also looking to diversify. One result of this has been the growth in the bay oil industry, concentrated in the south east and sold to both United States and European markets. Another major industry has been the production of Mexican limes for juice, mainly to the United Kingdom. However, bananas remain the most profitable export, generating US$4,550,000 in 2010. The island also exports to Martinique and Guadeloupe, with a thriving network of small traders and inter-island commerce, largely in coconuts, citrus fruit and essential oils. Agricultural land accounts for a significant 32% of total land area (2009). Farms range from 0.5 – 10 hectares, with a mixture of many small subsistence farms and larger mono crop plantations, usually owned by private individuals or small co-operatives. Both the public and private sectors are involved in seed production and distribution. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is the primary public sector institution responsible for formulating, executing, monitoring and coordinating the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica agricultural and environmental policies.
The growth in the fair-trade industry has already seen a revival of confidence in the banana trade, which had suffered from long-term decline. The country hopes to maintain sales to the United Kingdom fair-trade banana market, as well as developing fair-trade and regional markets for other fresh fruits, such as mangoes and coconuts, and juices and processed fruit products. In an increasingly competitive environment farmers are continuing to look for new ways in which they can diversify and expand.
|Agriculture organisations in Dominica|
|Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry||