|National policy objectives identify agriculture as a major agent
for rural transformation, the attainment of macro-economic stability, and
sustainable development. Agriculture is the single most important private sector
activity in Dominica, both in terms of number of persons employed and
contribution to GDP, averaging 9.24% per annum of GDP between 1994 and 2003.
Despite declining production, agriculture continues to be a significant
contributor to total domestic exports, contributing 29.8% of the total in 2003
and 34% in 2004. Bananas continued to be the main contributor, (over 50%) with
important contributions from plantains, dasheen and avocadoes. Notwithstanding
the decline in agriculture’s share in GDP, the sector still continues to play a
significant role in the overall social and economic development of the country.
Inspite of the economic indicators, the weight of the contribution of
agricultural activity must be measured in its significant contribution to
employment, food security and social welfare. The continued development of the
food, agriculture and natural resources sector is critical to maintain and
improve social welfare as well as contribute to economic growth. Such
development must be built on firm policies, strong institutions and the
requisite infrastructure to support diversification, agro-processing and export
expansion. This process is being guided by a redefinition of a vision for the
food, agriculture and natural resources system that consistently provides safe
and nutritious food, generates high incomes through a wide spectrum of
innovative and competitive business activities and makes positive contributions
to rural prosperity, poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability. This
is in keeping with the national Medium Term Growth and Social Protection
Strategy (MTGSPS) of that sets the sets the course and direction for Dominica’s
economy over the next five years and outlines the macro-economic framework
within which agriculture must be repositioned. |
The GoCD projects a 3% growth in GDP in the medium term, which will result in a decreased unemployment rate of approximately 6.2% by 2009/10. Agriculture is projected to provide approximately 23% of the 2,600 new jobs expected to be created during the medium term. In order to achieve this, the strategic framework for economic recovery and growth of the agricultural sector will, inter alia, place emphasis on strategies geared towards the development of eco- and agro-tourism, agricultural diversification, fisheries expansion and agro–industries. Emphasis will also be placed on providing the enabling environment for private enterprise development and increasing exports of goods and services.
The development challenges to the food, agriculture and natural resources system in Dominica are no different from other CARICOM states and coincidence of the Dominica’s policy goals with regional and hemispheric initiatives provides some a guarantee of support on the regional and hemispheric front. Indeed, opportunities exist for Dominica to benefit from the regional, hemispheric and international and partnerships with the OECS, through its Agriculture Plan, the CARICOM led Jagdeo Initiative, the Caribbean Fisheries Regional Mechanism (CRFM), the UN FAO-led National Medium Term Investment Profiles (NMTIP), the Summit of the Americas Agriculture Agenda 2015 and the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially Goals 1, 3, 7 and Goals 8.