By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – The ministry of minister for agriculture, fisheries, food security and rural development has received consultancy services from the Caribbean Development Bank to develop a Livestock Master Plan, that includes the direction of policies and strategies, creating a roadmap to improve livestock production in Saint Lucia, the ministry of agriculture said in a press release Tuesday.
“At the validation meeting, the consultants were able to present the research completed to department officials. According to Cordia Thompson, a livestock consultant, the researchers concluded that the farmers in the sector face challenges with housing, production costs, transportation, and storage,” the ministry added: “They are aware of these things but they need assistance, external intervention to do some hand-holding and take them through with regards to improving their products so that they can satisfy the market. What we’re trying to tell them is that traceability is important, consumer health is important, the consumer has to be assured that this is wholesome healthy meat and they will buy the local meat.”
The livestock sector has great potential for expansion in terms of advancing toward national food security and sovereignty.
Chief veterinary officer, Dr Sharmine Melville-Edwin, explained that the research results reinforced the importance of establishing a meat processing facility to improve the capability of the livestock sector to meet the international standards needed to expand the sector.
“A major component that is needed in order to develop our livestock sector. A meat processing facility is fundamental towards meeting proper food safety requirements, meeting consumer demands, consumer confidence, and meeting many standards in the sector. You need a meat processing facility to ensure that you have proper processing facilities, packaging facilities, and transport facilities, in the livestock sector.”
According to the ministry of agriculture, “the livestock industry in Saint Lucia has grown significantly over the years.” The chief veterinary officer reaffirmed that “the country’s food security and farmers’ livelihoods remain the top priorities, as the ministry of agriculture works to improve the livestock sector in Saint Lucia.”