8 9 REBUILDING IRRIGATION SYSTEMSAND IMPROVING ROADACCESS TO FARMS TOP PRIORITIES FOR DOMINICA’SAGRICULTURE SECTOR R estoring irrigation systems and road access to farming areas inDominica are disaster response priorities that are vital to reestablish- ing the country’s food production destroyed by HurricaneMaria. These priorities were highlighted as part of a meeting last week in Roseau between the Food and AgricultureOrganization of the UnitedNations (FAO) andDominica’sMinistryof Agriculture and Fisheries to discuss recoveryand resource needs,as well as the importance of rebuilding for sustainable and resilient agriculture. During themeeting,JohnsonDrigo,Dominica’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries,Harold Guiste, Permanent Secretaryof theMinistryof Agriculture and Fisheries,andDr.Lystra Fletcher-Paul,FAOSubregional Coordinator for the Caribbean,agreed that repairing Dominica’s irrigation systems is amid-termgoal that will help to regenerate crops especiallyas the dry season approaches. Theyalso recognized that many feeder roads to farms and rural communities have been inaccessible due to debris blockages caused by the hurricane,and recommended the clearing of debris is necessary to revitalize Dominica’s agriculture sector. Damage to irrigation systems and inaccessible feeder roads have significantlyhindered the country’s ability to begin regenerating its food production and related livelihoods.Theyhave also created setbacks for reestablishingDominica’s food security,as well as OPENING LINES providing farmers withmarkets to get the produce to other countries who relyonDominica’s crops for their own nutritional needs. “The restoration of the agriculture sector is a priority for the Government of Dominica for national food se- curityandwemust ensure that all farmers–especially those in remote areas have access for their produce to get to themarket,”Drigo said. Staff fromFAO’s Subregional Office for the Carib- bean have been on the ground in Dominica since immediately after Hurricane Maria’s passage to help the Ministry assess damage and to facilitate recov- ery efforts. FAO has also secured significant funding from a range of international donor agencies to finance the restoration of agricultural production and livelihoods. To symbolize FAO’s support and commitment to helping the agriculture sector fully recover, Fletch- er-Paul presented Drigo with vegetable seed va- rieties, fertilizer, and farming tools that have been provided to Dominica to initiate replanting efforts.