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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


The Government of Dominica is apparent faced with the very difficult task of routing Dominica from the present economic crisis it suffers under. To compound the situation, this has to be done against the backdrop of soaring global food and fuel prices and there is also the unpredictable criminal element.

So how then will the leaders of our nature isle manage to stabilize the economy, soften the public impact from raising food cost and protect the citizens while doing so?

Government ministers have tried to quiet down those who have expressed concerns over these troubling issues by airing ways in which they intend to remedy the situation – to this date none of these remedies have proven fruitful.

One of the ideas being propelled by the government is that of the country should move in the direction of a self-sustaining agriculture programme; which I support a 110%. Recently, my friend and fellow blogger Danielle Edwards expressed the same opinion in her post entitled: Cooking up Local Remedies to stomach Rising Food prices.

People are being encouraged to return to the land by way of subsistence farming to secure food for themselves and their family. This, however, appears to be all that is being done even though a very worthy attempt was by the government to let people know that the task of sustenance does not solely belong to the government.

From the looks of it, the people of Dominica seem to be waiting for the problem to reach to point where it’s out of control before they can implement the suggestions of the government. We seem to have become so dependent on the government for solving our every problem that we refuse to be self-sufficient.

Agriculture is being branded as a by-product of slavery and is often described as a dirty job that has too much hard work associated with it. There are many people, however, who have proven agriculture provides hard but honest work and an investment that could provide very worthwhile returns. There is also the idea of creating backyard gardens is also being explored and the country’s minister of agriculture has been advocating of this type of land use.

In the industrialised world or what we refer to as the First World will be the first to benefit from any turn in events or when world economies stabilise once more, which is not predicted to occur for the next two years. This means we will still be victims to high food prices. Recently it was reported that gas prices had lowered, but did we feel this change? Meanwhile statistics are showing that the amount of money spent on imports ridiculously exceeds that of our exports.

I strongly believe that if Dominica gets busy developing its agricultural product this could well have other spin-off positive effects. We could well see a drastic change in the rate at which criminal activity is growing. Agriculture has the ingredients to develop discipline, patience, contentment and values which are the things which seem to be most lacking in our present society.

Agriculture could then present the Dominica Government with a win-win situation. Don’t you think? Let hear ’em comments

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6 Comments »

Comment by Suki
2008-08-27 14:59:33

I do believe Chris that returning to simplicity and self-sufficiency will ease the pain of the “economic crisis”. I do not view the current situation as an “economic crisis” but rather an economic opportunity – An opportunity to know that we can take care of our selves. Our current economic situation forces us to make some different choices and learn much of what has been forgotten. This is a subject I care deeply about. Self sufficiency breeds self satisfaction. To know you have created is to cherish. I agree that , “Agriculture has the ingredients to develop discipline, patience, contentment and values”. This is particularly important for the youth, the kind of work that is required simply gives them less time to get into trouble and more time with their family (as this is usually a family affair if the children still reside with their parents). I do have a small garden in my home and will be planting additional trees next year. I make jelly from my crab apple trees and use garlic for a good number of medicinal purposes. I have learned to groom my hair without any products and my husband cuts both his and my son’s hair. I am even in the process of sewing a purse out of my husbands old jeans (even without the perfect stitching, it is my favorite purse). All of this is wonderfully therapeutic and keeps my husband and I confident that you can drop us off in any part of the world and we will be successful, not because of our various college and post graduate degrees but because we are focused on knowing how to care for ourselves. While I appreciate my “formal” education and have no problem with wanting to obtain various degrees, I believe we might all be served by a “School of Life” that teaches us how to grow our food, sew or repair our clothes, and the nutritional and medicinal benefits of various foods. Our collective governments and big corporations have been focused on giving men fish, we might be better served teaching men to fish.

Suki K Tranqille
Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish;
and you have fed him for a lifetime

 
Comment by Dan
2008-08-27 16:51:01

Right on, Chris. Reduced dependency on imported goods will lessen Dominica’s hard currency deficit, especially if counterbalanced by increased eco-tourism that brings hard currency in. Reduced usage of imported foodstuffs will improve Dominicans’ general health while lessening the amount of non-biodegradable refuse.

 
Comment by Joel Halfwassen
2008-08-28 00:39:23

Farming Dominica for the populace is a no-brainer. Paradise for man and plant. The sentiment over the hard work though is felt the world over. My wife is in Ukraine right now. They are having a similar situation. The government is asking people to plant a bit to help with food costs. People are outraged at this. They would rather the government issue checks to offset the food cost instead of getting their own hands dirty. And there is a similar sentiment towards the reason why. They all come from stock that was forced to farm for the benefit of others and they see that as a ‘dirty’ job.

 
Comment by Sam
2008-08-28 16:10:03

Hi Chris

I believe that in Dominica we need to fully harness our natural resources. However, it’s rather a

shame that we boast about being the “Nature Isle” when this concept only seems to limit itself to

the island’s vegetation, and if I would say, to a certain extent keeps the country in a state

of “underdevelopment”, as I see it. I believe that there are so many

innovative ways of improving the island’s economy and reducing the social ills that are destroying

our youth today, but we just tend to sit and relax, happy to struggle in the Nature Ilse, while we

go overseas on weekends to casinos and party at five star hotels, hustle and make money as cleaners and bar tenders while shopping online. We rather go outside and workd hard

in other countries, and marvel at progress that we refuse to allow our own country to have.

Besides, this, Dominicans have not been willing to compromise.

So… we are stuck between, what? Developing a tourism industry without wanting to reserve

some beach space and clearing land in order to build a couple resorts that would create

employment and increase the country’s foreign exchange, and, not wanting to grow our own

food so that money could be earned through farming… oh, yeah, but there are a lot of Haitians around… they can do the job, can’t they?

Quite frankly, it’s sad! Dominicans seem to be so confused while our leadership and

media personnel only tend to bombard us with all sorts of information and controversies that do

not particularly lead to anywhere… many times void of vision and positivity. So, the idea is… Stay poor and unemployed, keep the bad narrow roads, old wooden houses.. it’s culture right? Do not cut the bushes, keep the resorts away, better to be unemployed than to cut the bush and create employment… We are the nature isle, remember? Want do we want? It’s rather frustrating.

While trying to increase economic sustainability, I believe there’s a serious reality check that we as Dominicans need to do, re our general outlook on life, decide what it is that we want for our children, and we definitely need to be positive and development oriented. It’s high time that decisions be taken without keeping away development and trying to please everybody. You can never please everybody!

With this said, I am asking your question again, How are We Going to Emerge from this Economic Crisis?

Sam

Comment by Chris
2008-08-28 23:00:47

Sam – I share your view on the fact that we Dominicans need to seriously take an outlook on life and decide what it is that we want for our children and their children. Let’s stop all this bureaucracy shit – always arguing about something – if it’s not government it’s something else.

It’s about time Dominicans unite as one nation – one people, and allow our actions to do the talking for us. There is only so much a government can do. Sadly to say, but are many Dominicans who are under the notion that Government are the only ones responsible in the development of our nature island. Guess what? We all are.

 
 
Comment by Suki
2008-08-31 15:22:30

I believe the real crisis is a “skills” crisis rather than an economic crisis. What we have forgotten is how to take care of ourselves and have relied more and more on a government machine to provide. More and more, people, I believe are starting to see that and are beginning to hone in their life skills with regards to sustenance, health and shelter. After all, is that not all we need? It will be a process embracing a life skills attitude but we will all be better served for it, the trick is to be proactive rather than reactive, should we wait until there is a crisis, a real shortage of food before we start to grow our own in order to survive? Should we wait until the price of oil grounds economies to a halt before deciding to seriously tap into renewable resources for our energy needs? The way for Dominica to emerge from its economic crisis is to remove itself from the current economic system – produce food for people on the island, exchange goods/food for services in addition to the current system of hard currency, send people to learn how to use the renewable resources and bring that knowledge back to the island (I understand that there is already a group that has been learning how to do that and they were quite upset that they were not given the opportunity to bid before an agreement was reached with the Russian company) for the use of all the people on the island. Embracing simplicity, embracing a “self-sufficient life skills” attitude, rejecting the failed economic policies of the tax your citizens to death strategy and rejecting the more, more, more mentality that makes satisfaction impossible will lead Dominica out of the “economic crisis”. Although capitalism might glitter, by its very nature everyone can not find gold.

Suki

 
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