"How can Dominica increase the local production and consumption of healthy food to reduce diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), in the working age population (14-65 age) by 2030?"

Through its National Resilience Policy 2030, the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (hereafter ‘the GOCD’) is pursuing its goal of transforming Dominica into the world's first climate-resilient country. This Cambridge Policy Boot Camp brings together two aspects of the National Resilience Policy - improving agricultural modernisation and resilience and the need for Dominicans to adopt healthier lifestyles in order to reduce the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The GOCD has put in place a range of agricultural, health/preventative health policies and education initiatives. For example, the GOCD has formally constituted a National Food and Nutrition Council and recently announced a Commissioner for NCDs. Since 2015, Dominica, has implemented a 10% tax on sugary foods/drinks and over the recent period undertaken extensive modernisation and resilience investments in the agricultural sector. The key issue facing the GOCD is limited ‘whole of system’ thinking - linkages/coordination - to integrate these different areas of policymaking and government activities. A further issue is the limited use of the role of culture - working culture, labour law, mass and social media, island lifestyle habits, cultural food and exercise preferences - in promoting healthy eating. There is also an inadequate recognition at the policy level for interlinking the differing needs, barriers and opportunities between gender, working age and communities in sustainably accessing healthy lifestyles.

Through its collaboration in regional and international organisations - including CARICOM, PAHO/WHO, FAO, World Bank - Dominica has access to extensive sources of technical and financial support to link its NCD prevention and agriculture agendas together. In addition, there is extensive research, resources and case studies of middle-income countries whose approaches to NCD prevention can provide sources of inspiration for Dominica. For example, the WHO has identified a set of costed, cost-effective measures that low and middle-income countries could introduce to achieve a 15% reduction in NCD-related premature mortality by 2030 in line with SDG Goal 3.4. In summary, these are: reduce tobacco use, reduce the harmful use of alcohol, promote healthy diet, and promote physical activity.

Currently, there are a number of opportunities within Dominica that could be leveraged to link agriculture reform with healthy eating and NCD prevention and implement the type of measures proposed by the WHO - or other approaches. These include the recent appointment of a national coordinator across government ministries and agencies to address NCDs, and the reintroduction of primary health care nurse training. The forthcoming Small Island Developing States Ministerial Conference on NCDs and mental health organised by WHO in Barbados in June 2023 is another opportunity for Dominica to announce initiatives to link these two agendas.

The policy concepts developed through the Cambridge Policy Boot Camp (CPBC) can provide a starting point for using these opportunities to make real progress on NCD prevention in Dominica.

Anchor Agency:  Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue and Green Economy, Commonwealth of Dominica

Beneficiary Agency: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Blue and Green Economy, Commonwealth of Dominica

Participating Agencies: 

  • Ministry of Planning
  • Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on AGricultur (IICA)
  • Food and Nutrition Council
  • Ministry of Health, wellness and Social Services
  • Ministry of Environment,
  • Rural Modernization and Kalinago Upliftment
  • Ministry of Education,
  • Human Resource Planning
  • Vocational Training and National Excellent
  • Dominica Bureau of Standards
  • Women & Gender Affairs, National Focal Point Farmers Cooperatives