Operations manager at DAPEX Julian Elwin told an exclusive interview with Dominica Vibes that the lack of financial support to farmers is one of the major factors contributing to the decline in export to the region.
He noted further that if this trend continues Dominica could lose its regional markets.
“We have limited our marketing efforts because we cannot meet the supply as required for the market …because they are aware of our production supply issues, they also tend to limit the volumes that they would like buy from us,” Mr Elwin said.
He explained that a customer may want a 40ft container of produce per fortnight but because of the unreliability of supply, will reduce the order to a 20ft container a fortnight.
He indicated further that the scarcity of produce is also creating loss of market confidence from the buyers on the shipping arrangements that exists. Therefore, new shipping opportunities must be explored in order to compete with other countries.One way he suggested that this could be addressed is through improved air and sea freights transportation arrangements.
Meanwhile, Mr. Elwin said attempts to assist farmers financially have been unsuccessful, as the company lacks the collateral to obtain he funds required to do so.
“A loan which was have approved at the AID Bank of one million dollars but we do not have the collateral required, which is a caveat on a property which was sold to DAPEX by the government,” Mr Elwin revealed.
At present, Dominica is producing less than 8000 boxes of bananas a week, which according to Mr. Elwin is Trinidad and Tobago’s weekly consumption.
DAPEX’s regular exports include dasheen, bananas, plantains, christophene, ginger, passion fruit, lime and grape fruits among others.
Dominica’s main regional competitors are St. Lucia, Grenada and St. Vincent. DAPEX has projected, over $2 million in export for 2013.
Dominica Vibes News