Unreliable transportation is hindering agricultural trade between Barbados and Dominica.
However, the Prime Minister of that Eastern Caribbean country already has a plan in the works to turn the situation around.
Roosevelt Skerrit said today that his Government, which held discussions with the now late Barbadian leader David Thompson back in 2008 on increased trade, is working on getting its own boats to get bananas and other produce here.
He told Barbados TODAY he has seen an increase in the amount of Dominican produce getting into the Barbadian market.
But he said it could be even greater, if not for the transportation woes.
“There are a couple of issues which we have to address. The main problem there is regular transportation . . . so this week you have the boats going and the following week there is no boat, and we cannot trade without a reliable form of transportation,” he said in an interview at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa where he is attending the 35th Heads of Government Conference.
“What we’re seeking to do, from the Government of Dominica standpoint, is to seek to acquire our own vessel, our own boats, to help address the transportation issue [to the south of Dominica) – Trinidad, Barbados in particular which are very important markets to us, in so far as our agricultural produce is concerned.”
It is against that background that Skerrit stressed the need for CARICOM countries to work together to whittle down the more than US$2 billion food import bill. He said when things are difficult as far as the economy and employment are concerned regional countries need to help each other out.
“Because if I can supply Barbados with agricultural produce it means it’s going to be much cheaper than that which you get from sometimes the Latin American countries and Miami,” Skerrit said.
He also suggested that the provision of water to other Caribbean countries should also be a priority, as some islands face water shortage problems regularly while Dominica – the land of many rivers – has an abundance of the precious resource.