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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

I have in the past suggested on this blog that Dominica encourage pomegranate agriculture. The pomegranate is a seed-bearing orchard crop that is far less labor-intensive, has a long shelf-life, and has high market demand because pomegranate juice is not only good-tasting but also rich in healthful anti-oxidants – and the world market demand for the juice could enable Dominica to reap second-stage value-add profits by processing the fruit into juice (which would then have an even longer shelf-life and reduced storage and transportation costs). In fact, were Dominica to have a sizable store of the juice – a commodity in high demand – it could store and release it in accordance with the greatest potential for profit, much as OPEC does with oil.

I have lamented the fact that bananas, Dominica’s principal export crop have so many disadvantages:

  • It’s hard to make a living exporting or farming them without subsidies, and the subsidies have largely been eliminated and in any event would be fraught with political baggage,
  • They have an extremely short shelf-life, necessitating rapid harvesting and fast, expensive refrigerated transport,
  • Farming them is exceedingly labor-intensive,
  • There is no possible value-upgrade local processing stage, and
  • They are a seedless plant that can only be grown from cuttings – making them genetically identical and thus prone to eradication by a single biological agent.

My research has led me to the Web site of David Ewing Duncan, which has this extremely interesting posting dated Thursday, July 05, 2007 on exactly where & when banana seeds originally came from, and on the dangers of depending on genetic identical crops, especially seedless ones. It’s worth reading – Saving the Bananas.

This post was guest blogged by Dan Tanner

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