Read the full profile
Irrigation and drainage
Evolution of irrigation development
There is a considerable potential for irrigated agriculture in Dominica, but the country has practically no irrigation. In fact, there are only small systems where farmers grow vegetables such as watermelons, carrots, tomatoes, cabbages.
These systems are usually fed by surface water abstracted directly from rivers. According to IWCAM (2011), area equipped for irrigation accounts for less than 1 percent of the estimated area of farmland. It is therefore estimated at maximum 200 ha (Table 4).
Role of irrigation in agricultural production, economy and society
The Dominica Banana Growers Association (DBMC) is the central authority which manages banana production and marketing in the island and provides essential services to the farmers including export. Although there has been much talk of growing bananas under irrigation, no concrete efforts have been made to do so. Indications are that average yield could be significantly improved if irrigation were practiced. Areas like Calabishi and Marigot, which are considered prime banana areas because of the soil type, tend to suffer from drought and could benefit significantly from irrigation. Banana is the major crop in the island in terms of area.
An additional benefit of irrigation is that the national banana production target could be realized from a more reduced area. As a consequence, steep hillside areas which are currently planted to rainfed bananas could be released from arable land and put under tree crops or agro-forestry, uses that area more consistent with good conservation practice. The DBMC is also interested in promoting crop diversification among its banana farmers.