ROSEAU: Following discussions held between the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and a Moroccan agricultural technical team, a co-operation agreement was signed for the implementation of a soil fertility mapping project in Dominica.
The project consists of eight work packages and includes technical and human capacity building within the ministry of agriculture as it relates to crop nutrients management. Farmers and extension agents will be able to address the challenges associated with soil fertility, including the use and management of fertilizers for sustainable crop production.
Considered one of the significant projects undertaken in Dominica by the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI) and with the technical and scientific input of Morocco’s National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA), the agreement reinforces the partnership between Morocco and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), in particular, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada and Dominica.
These countries will be joined by St. Vincent & the Grenadines by the end of the technical mission in signing county specific co-operation agreements with Khalid Moujaddidi, AMCI’s deputy director general, who is in Dominica seeking to initiate formal discussions with the departments of agriculture of the Bahamas and Barbados in hopes of expanding the project within the wider Caribbean region.
Following his review of the terms of the agreement, Harold Guiste, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, stated that the project is timely as it augments the initiatives by the government to expand and develop the agricultural sector with emphasis placed on the production of coffee, cocoa, citrus, banana and dasheen as initial target crops.
He also said that investments made in training individuals in global information systems (GIS) technology throughout the divisions of the ministry of agriculture and fisheries will serve as a resource allowing for a more cost effective and efficient implementation of the project in Dominica.
The director of agriculture, Ricky Brumant, will serve as the national co-ordinator. A steering committee chaired by Guiste will be appointed among key stakeholders, including the Land and Survey Department, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the National Center for Testing Excellence (NCTE), to monitor the implementation of the project over a four-year period.
The project will build technical capacity through the establishment of a regional soil testing facility to serve the OECS region at the NCTE, where expert advice on the development of the required protocols on the transportation, storage and disposal of soil samples for testing will be undertaken as part of the overall project.