By Anicia Antoine, Ministry of Agriculture, St Lucia
CASTRIES, St Lucia – To increase farmer production and sustainability, the ministry of agriculture in partnership with Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF) has been supporting farmers with various initiatives and programmes including farmer training in areas of product development and marketing.
At the recently held graduation ceremony for the 2020 region six farmer training, the ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, His Excellency Peter Shen reaffirmed his government’s commitment to assisting Saint Lucian farmers.
“According to the statistics, Saint Lucia spends more than EC$6 million in imported fruits and vegetables such as cabbages, watermelons, cantaloupes and tomatoes each year, and import values have been increasing. So we thought, what if we could purchase them locally instead of buying from overseas and more specifically buying from local farms; and that’s the reason why the government of Taiwan is working with the government of Saint Lucia to promote local production of the seven important crops on a sustainable basis, which includes various programmes.”
Farmer Iverson Calixte, a participant in the training programme, encouraged farmers to make use of the knowledge imparted.
“I want to encourage us all not only to correctly apply the practices from this certification course but also to hold one another accountable for doing so. Our value to the Saint Lucian economy cannot be overstated, but we must cement this by infusing our knowledge into our daily practices. Moreover, I wish to encourage our farming community that although we may be operating in a competitive environment, that we work collaboratively as we share a common objective of improving the agriculture sector in Saint Lucia.”
The 2020 farmer training for region six forms part of a series of programs planned by the ministry of agriculture with support from the Taiwan Technical Mission and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), under the “Enhancement of the Efficiency of Production-Distribution Supply Chains in the Fruits and Vegetable Sector” project.