Boost to Dominica’s Exports following Upgrades to Labs at the Standards Bureau
September 16, 2022, Bridgetown, Barbados - The Commonwealth of Dominica has gained a significant boost to its capacity to meet quality standards for export, thanks to improvements made to the main national measurement laboratories, housed at the Dominica Bureau of Standards (DBOS).
To commemorate the achievement, the two laboratories were commissioned at a special at ceremony on Wednesday, September 14, at the Bureau’s Stockfarm, Roseau headquarters.
Minister for Trade, Commerce, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Development, the Honourable Ian Douglas hailed the commissioning as a major stepping stone for the country’s trade agenda, during the ceremony which was attended by representatives from the European Union (EU), CARIFORUM, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).
“As the Minister of Trade, I will never cease to strive towards the enhancement of our trading industry to ensure that all locally manufactured products, as well as the services provided under my mandate are of the highest quality. It is also my vision to improve the trading power of my country, and today’s activity serves as another stepping stone towards attaining this objective through the enhancing of our measurement and calibration capabilities, and for this I am delighted,” said the Minister in his remarks.
Minister Douglas also expressed his desire to see the rest of the region benefit from the expanded services now available in Dominica and underscored that the advancement raises the country’s National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) and its trajectory towards sustainability and resilience.
The DBOS Metrology Laboratory enhancements include infrastructure upgrades spearheaded by the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, that feature advanced physical infrastructure, plus a new container lab, which will facilitate the expansion of the labs’ services.
Other improvements include the purchasing of equipment and training of laboratory personnel that were provided by the “Strengthening of the Regional Quality Infrastructure in Barbados, Dominica, and St. Kitts and Nevis” Project to enhance the capacity of the lab to serve national sectors.
The Project is a two-year EU-financed initiative, managed by CDB and implemented by CROSQ. It is supported through the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Standby Facility for Capacity Building, which enhances the ability of CARIFORUM Member States to access Caribbean and European export markets.
Mr. David Mogollon, Head of Cooperation for the EU Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS, and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, stated that the gains seen by Dominica is one of the main reasons for the existence of the EU’s Standby Facility.
Such funds, he noted, were used to “equip producers to meet international standards”, as well as enhancing their individual capacity to access new markets. The EU was exceptionally pleased with the progress in Dominica and pledged its commitment to maintaining its relations in the region.
The Head of CDB’s Private Sector Unit, Mr. Miguel Almeyda, highlighted that, “By ensuring agricultural products and related commodities meet international standards for export, Dominica can increase its food production value chain, boost consumer confidence, and become more competitive. Collectively, we can also ensure an adequate supply of affordable, nutritious food across the region and contribute to CARICOM’s commitment to reduce Member States’ food import bill by twenty-five per cent by 2025.”
CROSQ’s CEO Mr Deryck Omar lauded the partnerships in the project that have added value to the region, pointing out that the activities thus far had shown the commitment of both the DBOS and the government to working alongside regional entities to ensure that quality was ingrained into every aspect of national development.
“CROSQ is exceptionally proud of Dominica and is happy to have been a part of this process. We look forward to the positive impacts that this new, improved lab, equipment and training will have on the national quality infrastructure of Dominica, and we know this will add to the already improving regional quality infrastructure,” he said.
Deputy Programme Manager of CARIFORUM Directorate, Mrs. Yvanette Baron-George noted that Dominica’s advancements had brought the region closer to the objective of a “harmonised Regional Quality Infrastructure”, which would certainly help producers raise the standard of their production processes, and hence their competitiveness.
Director of the DBOS, Mr. Median LaRocque congratulated his staff on the work that went into bringing the bureau to where it is today, stating: “[We] are very committed to continuously improving our competence and capabilities towards serving our country through high-level testing, calibration and other measurement services. Through this project, we will now be able to provide an even higher level, than before, of quality technical support to the various industries.”